Skepchick Quickies 7.18


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Wow, is that really how weddings have to go in the UK? Father’s name and occupation on the marriage certificate? I mean, first, what the hell does that have to do with anything? Why is that information necessary at all? And as the author of the article said, why can’t you put your mother’s name and occupation? And, hell, what if you don’t KNOW? I mean, there’s a whole mess of reasons why someone might not know their father’s identity: Orphaned and raised in foster care. Dad ditched early and raised by single mother who wouldn’t talk about him. Mother got pregnant through artificial insemination (maybe even raised by two moms!). Pregnancy was the result of rape. Mother herself doesn’t know the identity of the father. I mean, surely these situations (and others I didn’t come up with) happen every once in a while, right? I guess you just have to leave it blank, as the author did, instead of filling in a more appropriate parent/guardian figure?

    And you can’t write your own vows? You’ve got to have the “lawful wedded husband/wife”? And… the man has to sign the wedding register first because WHAT? I wonder how this is going to change with marriage equality happening in the UK now. Will they have to change these rules? Or will they still be enforced for heterosexual couples?

    1. The occupation bit seemed weird to me. Parents’ names are just for record-keeping, I’d assume. For my marriage license, you only had to fill in as much as you knew for your parents’ info. I *think* I remember some checkboxes for don’t know/deceased/etc.?

      And there are parts of the vows that are legally mandated in the US, too. The wording has to be very specific, since it’s part of entering into a legally binding contract. But with marriage equality, there’s no lawfully wedded husband/wife bit- my husband and I were just declared married, with no reference to husband/wife/spouse roles. And I don’t know if that’s even necessary, or just the cleanest way to end the ceremony.

      1. I honestly don’t remember if we had to put our parents’ names down when applying for our marriage license. Probably, I suppose, but definitely not occupation, and it certainly wasn’t just “father.”

        What parts of the vows need specific wording? I guess, some form of “Do you?” “We do.” “And now you’re married.” We did it rather like you did, having written our ceremony ourselves top to bottom. Instead of asking us “Do you?” individually, he asked us both and we answered together, and then declared us married without, like you, any husband/wife references.

  2. Hi MarlowePI ,

    There are differences between Civil and Religious marriages in the UK. Under a Civil marriage, you are able to write your own vows but i believe they must be secular in nature. Religious marriages and vows must follow the customs of the institution i.e Church of England or Roman Catholic Church etc.. With regards to “father” in the marriage certificate, i think the most popular answer in that case would be UNKNOWN, i.e. what you put on the birth certificate of your child if the farther is a chauvinist pig. Please remember that the UK is an old country and subject to odd traditions. Such traditions are easily subverted and made your own. Things ain’t as bad in the UK as you’d think, we having running water and television and such.

    Kind Regards,
    English Peasant, esquire

  3. In some states, including Colorado where I live, a couple can marry without the involvement of a clergy member, celebrant, or Justice, so the whole ceremony is optional. I remember first learning that most places require some kind of religious figure or official to solemnity a marriage; always seemed bizarre to me.

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