Bishop of St Albans welcomes Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill

On 18th January 2019 the House of Lords considered the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank Tim Loughton MP and the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson of Abinger, for bringing this Bill forward in the Chamber today. It is a complex Bill because it brings together a number of different issues and therefore the danger is that it could fall because a group of people does not like one particular bit of it. I know just how hard it has been working on just the focused registration of marriage part of it, let alone the other focuses. For that reason, I will resist the temptation to widen the debate beyond the scope of the Bill; for example, to explore the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury. I do so because I want us to focus absolutely on what we are trying to deliver. That does not preclude us from having other debates on the points he has made but I do not believe that they are relevant today. Indeed, the danger is that it will confuse matters if we go beyond the scope of what we are trying to do.

As has already been spelled out, the proposals in Clause 1 reflect almost exactly my own Registration of Marriage Bill, which passed through this House with support from your Lordships. Perhaps I may say how grateful I am to the considerable number of people who were immensely helpful. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans welcomes Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill”

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”

Bishops of St Albans’s Bill on Marriage Registration passes Report Stage

On Tuesday 17th July 2018 the House of Lords passed without amendment the Registration of Marriage Bill, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by the Bishop of St Albans, at its Report Stage. It will now progress to the final House of Lords stage, Third Reading. Continue reading “Bishops of St Albans’s Bill on Marriage Registration passes Report Stage”

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”

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”

Lords backs Bishop of St Albans’ bill on marriage registration

On 26th January 2018 the Registration of Marriage Bill [HL], a Private Member’s Bill by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was debated at Second Reading in the Lords. It received the backing of Government all other parties, and having passed Second Reading now proceeds to Committee. The speeches of the Bishop opening and closing the debate, and the Government Minister’s reply are reproduced in full below:

Second Reading

12.42 pm

Moved by

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the purpose of this Bill is to correct a clear and historic injustice. When a couple are married and that marriage is registered, there is currently provision only for a father’s name to be recorded. This is an archaic practice and unchanged since Victorian times, when children were seen as a father’s property and little consideration was given to a mother’s role in raising them. Continue reading “Lords backs Bishop of St Albans’ bill on marriage registration”