Royal Assent was received yesterday to the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act following a Private Member's Bill.
Dr Alan Smith, together with Dame Caroline, who is the Second Church Estates Commissioner, made the following statement:
"The passing of this Bill into law is to be welcomed and marks a significant step forward.
"After years of tireless work by politicians, faith-leaders and campaigners, we have finally achieved tangible progress towards the equal treatment of both parents.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been so involved in this campaign.
"Prior to this Act, which relies heavily on wording from our own Private Members Bill, only fathers’ names were formerly recorded when marriages were registered, a custom unchanged since 1837.
"This clear and historic injustice reflected the time when children and wives were considered property of men and it is high time for this to be corrected.
"For clergy, the most notable change will be the easier electronic registration which will ease the workload of the celebrant in line with other practices such as in Scotland.
"The Church will look forward to working with our clergy, parishioners and the Government to make sure this Act comes into force swiftly and delivers for all.’