The march of political correctness continues apace as the wet tories turn into pathetic liberal mush.
The words "husband and wife" are to be removed from official forms under the government's plans to legalise same-sex marriage, a government paper reveals.
The terms "husband and wife" could be removed from official documents Photo: ALAMY
By John Bingham
6:40AM GMT 16 Mar 2012
Immigration and benefits forms will replace some references with the "neutral term" "spouses and partners".
It follows consultation with gay rights groups, who have also drawn up draft bills for divorce laws to avoid "confusion".
Campaigners for same-sex marriage say that, while they wish the terms "husband and wife" to be retained in most cases, there will be examples in which it would be confusing to refer to husbands and wives.
It emerged this week that the terms "mother and father" may also have to be taken out of official paperwork to accommodate the new arrangements.
An official Home Office background paper says: "The UK Border Agency will require minor changes to application forms and staff guidance to highlight the changes to the law, and replacing references to 'husband and wife' with more neutral terms 'spouses and partners'."
Although the terms "husband and wife" are retained throughout, in one clause, dealing with separation, the words "husband and wife" are replaced with "spouse" to avoid confusion.
Ben Summerskill, of the gay right group Stonewall, said that fears that "husband and wife" would disappear were "based on a false premise".
He said: "It is precisely because gay people want to be called husband and wife that we are seeking this change."
It emerged yesterday that the overhaul could cost up to 4.5 million, including 2 million to adapt IT systems at the Home Office, which oversees the General Register Office.
The Department of Work and Pensions is also expected to spend 1 million changing IT systems to accommodate same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, existing stocks of divorce petitions will have to be pulped and reprinted to allow for the change.