It may soon be a thing of past for people to see the words husband and wife mentioned on official documents in the UK. With the reformations allowing same-sex marriages, official papers such as immigration documents will no longer assume that a married couple is a man and a woman, it was revealed on Thursday night.
Also, private companies will be told to change their databases containing the words, and replace it with more neutral terms like spouse and partner. Along with that, the terms bride and groom will also be possibly axed by the Coalition proposals.
The reforms, intended at opening civil marriages to gay and lesbian couples for the first time, were promised by Prime Minister David Cameron last autumn and were set out in a consultation paper launched yesterday.
For straight couples, a different category called religious marriage will be reserved since gay and lesbian marriages will not be allowed in churches.
The proposals have angered religious leaders and the Church of England has accused the Coalition of not understanding the law of marriage, reports the Daily Mail.
However, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has warned them not to 'fan the flames of homophobia' with 'inflammatory' language.
Businesses will also be asked to change their documents to recognize same-sex marriages, but they will be given some time before making it legally mandatory.
Replacement of the terms 'husband' and 'wife' is spelled out as an impact of approval of same-sex marriages published by the Home Office alongside the paper.
What will also get affected is the wording of marriage ceremonies at the marriage register office. Currently, when couples get married, they pledge to take each other as 'my wedded husband' or 'my wedded wife,' which will have to be changed to 'my wedded partner,' said the report.