HC Deb 20 March 1990 vol 169 c998
6. Mrs. Currie

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about his plans to bring forward legislation to reform the law affecting the registration of marriages.

Mr. Freeman

There has been a widespread welcome for the proposals in the White Paper, "Registration: Proposals for Change", which was published at the end of January. There is particular public support for the introduction of greater choice over where a civil marriage may take place.

Mrs. Currie

Given that the discrimination against marriage was removed by the previous Chancellor in his Budget two years ago and given that all of us—married and single—expect great things of his successor this afternoon, would my hon. Friend like to tell me when people will be able to get married in a hotel, on a hillside or in some other place of their choice?

Mr. Freeman

I am sure that, while paying tribute to my hon. Friend for introducing the Green Paper over a year ago when she held my present position, the House will agree that civil marriage is a serious ceremony. I can tell the House that the Secretary of State will seek to introduce a Bill during this Parliament.

Mr. Key

I congratulate my hon. Friend and his ministerial colleagues on an excellent White Paper. Will he consider placing a duty on local authorities to encourage the collection, storage and accessibility of public records, particularly medical records, which will become essential for epidemiological research in the future?

Mr. Freeman

I shall certainly pursue my hon. Friend's suggestion. It is proposed in the White Paper that all records of births, marriages and deaths that are more than 75 years old should be available for research and open to all members of the public.

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