‘Husband’ and ‘wife’ terms axed if marriage is redefined

An official Government paper has revealed that plans to redefine marriage would result in the terms “husband” and “wife” being removed from official forms.

Important paperwork, including tax documents, would have to be rewritten to avoid assuming that a married couple means a man and a woman.

In the Home Office’s ‘impact analysis’ of its plans to introduce same-sex marriage, it also disclosed such changes would cost millions of pounds.


Yesterday the Government launched its consultation on redefining marriage, which was branded a “sham” that will ignore any opposition to the controversial move.

The Home Office document read: “Changing legislation to allow same-sex couples to enter into a marriage will create some costs for certain government departments and agencies and for local government because changes will need to be made to some IT systems and processes to remove references to marriage being between a man and a woman.”

It described similar changes to Border Agency forms as “minor”: “The UK Border Agency (UKBA), also part of the Home Office, will require minor changes to application forms and staff guidance to highlight the changes to the law and replacing references to husband and wife with the more neutral term spouses and partners”.


The Daily Mail reports that vows would also have to be changed for those marrying in a register office, as currently couples must pledge to take each other as “wedded husband” and “wedded wife”.

When asked by the newspaper how the Government plans to change the wording of marriage ceremonies, the Home Office refused to comment.

Earlier this week Labour Peer Lord Brennan QC warned that terms such as “father” and “mother” have been replaced with “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” in countries like Spain where homosexual marriage has been legalised.


Meanwhile a petition supporting the current definition of marriage has surged passed 230,000 signatures in just over three weeks.

The petition is being run by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), a grassroots campaign group. Sign it here: www.c4m.org.uk

Yesterday its chairman Colin Hart blasted the Government’s consultation on the issue: “This consultation is a sham. It is being pushed through despite the public never having a say on this change.”