Press notice: Bishop’s Bill calls on MPs to add mothers to marriage certificates

The following appeared on the Church of England website on 24th July 2018:

The House of Lords today passed a bill from the Bishop of St Albans to end the historic inequality of excluding mothers’ names from marriage certificates. The Registration of Marriage Bill, which would also introduce electronic marriage registers, passed its final stage in the House of Lords today and now moves to the House of Commons to be considered by MPs. It is the first time a Bishop’s Private Member’s Bill has proceeded to the House of Commons in more than 20 years. Continue reading “Press notice: Bishop’s Bill calls on MPs to add mothers to marriage certificates”

Registration of Marriage Bill: passes Third Reading and completes Lords stages

On 24th July 2018 the House of Lords passed the Bishop of St Albans’s Registration of Marriage Bill at Third Reading. The Bill has now completed its Lords stages and passes to the House of Commons. Continue reading “Registration of Marriage Bill: passes Third Reading and completes Lords stages”

Registration of Marriage Bill – Bishop of St Albans’s Bill passes Committee stage

On 29th June 2018 the House of Lords considered in Committee the Registration of Marriage Bill [HL], a Private Member’s Bill introduced by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith. The Bishop moved a number of amendments to the Bill in response to points raised by Peers at an earlier stage. Being content with the amendments, the House passed them and the Bill completed its Committee Stage. A full transcript is below:


Continue reading “Registration of Marriage Bill – Bishop of St Albans’s Bill passes Committee stage”

Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill: Bishop of Chester highlights need to clarify divorce law

ChesterOn the 11th May 2018 the Bishop of Chester spoke during the second reading of Baroness Deech’s Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill.  The Bishop spoke about the developments in the approach taken by the Church of England to divorce and supported the outline of the Bill. Bishop Peter highlighted concerns regarding areas of the Bill relating to children, premarital assets and the need for a more adequate safety net.  Baroness Vere of Norbiton responded to the debate for the Government and her comments can be found below. The Bill was read a second time and has moved to Committee Stage.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I join others in congratulating the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for her persistence and perseverance in bringing this Bill forward and for her very elegant opening speech.

Continue reading “Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill: Bishop of Chester highlights need to clarify divorce law”

Time to recognise mothers’ names – Bishop of St Albans and Caroline Spelman

The following article was published in the Church Times on 2 March 2018:

Time to recognise mothers’ names

Our Bill will right an injustice and lessen clergy burdens, say Alan Smith and Caroline Spelman.

THE current system of marriage registration contains a clear and historic injustice. Only the couple’s fathers’ names are formally recorded when the marriage is registered. This practice, unchanged since 1837, means that mothers are systemically overlooked on a day that celebrates the creation of a new family.

We have, therefore, chosen to introduce identical Bills in the House of Lords and the House of Commons to ensure that mothers’ names are equally recognised when marriages are registered (News, 2 February). MPs from all main parties have supported calls for reform, and a 2014 petition asking the Government to include mothers’ names received more than 70,000 signatures.

Continue reading “Time to recognise mothers’ names – Bishop of St Albans and Caroline Spelman”

Ecumenical Marriage Bill – Bishop of Winchester points to difficulties

Bishop of WinchesterOn the 23rd February 2018, Lord Deben’s  ‘Ecumenical Marriage Bill’ was debated in the House of Lords at Second Reading. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke during the debate to say that he could not support the Bill for reasons related to detail and due process. The Government also declined to give the Bill its support, but as is convention, it passed Second Reading to be considered further in Committee. The Bishop’s speech and the closing speeches of the Minister and Lord Deben are reproduced below:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Deben, for giving us the opportunity to speak about issues of such importance to this Bench as the celebration of marriage and our ecumenical relationships. I first acknowledge the personal and pastoral issues raised by the noble Lord and the way that he has so succinctly put those in his four concluding points, about sacraments, the ecumenical world, the fudges and the ecumenical movement.

I am, therefore, rather embarrassed to start with something slightly more dry and technical. However, I begin by addressing what I believe to be the key issue here, which is constitutional in nature. There is a long-standing constitutional convention, with which noble Lords will be very familiar, that the Church of England makes its own legislation by synodical process. That legislation comes before Parliament for approval, having first been considered by the Ecclesiastical Committee. This Bill represents a departure from that convention. Continue reading “Ecumenical Marriage Bill – Bishop of Winchester points to difficulties”