Marriage certificate victory for Wadham alumna

28th August 2014

News, Student news, Alumni news

A campaign, led by Wadham alumna Ailsa Burkimsher Sadler (1994 Mathematics), calling for equality on marriage certificates by the inclusion of mothers’ names as well as fathers’, has won the approval of the Prime Minister.

  • BBC South Today announces Ailsa's victory in the news bulletin.

David Cameron announced that he has instructed the Home Office to investigate how marriage certification can be reformed to include the details of both parents.

On hearing of the campaign success in August, Ailsa wrote: “I am overjoyed that together with over 70,000 supporters, mobilised via change.org, I've succeeded in persuading the Government that mothers' names should be recorded on marriage certificates alongside fathers' names.”

During the campaign, Ailsa wrote on the Campaign for Name Equality website: “This seemingly small inequality is part of a much wider pattern of inequality. For me this campaign is about more than just this single issue. It is indicative of a society and culture and a country where things are decided by men to suit men. Marriage was historically a business transaction between the father of the bride and the father of the groom.  It is important that all forms of discrimination are challenged. Language shapes behaviour and cultural sexism is a huge barrier to true equality.”

Caroline Lucas MP proposed the idea in Parliament in June, with the motion receiving 112 signatures, calling on the law to “recognise the importance of mothers.” According to a report in The Independent, she was spurred on after seeing Ailsa’s online petition.

David Cameron said: "The content of marriage registers in England and Wales has not changed since the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign. At the moment, they require details of the couples’ fathers, but not their mothers. This clearly doesn’t reflect modern Britain - and it’s high time the system was updated. So I have asked the Home Office to look at how we can address this too."

Read about @nameequality on Twitter