UK – Men will be ‘wives’ and women will be ‘husbands’ as British gay marriage laws rewrite the dictionary

  • Marriage (Same Sex Couples Bill) requires new definition of spouses

  • Rules which exempt family business from health and safety laws affected


Wives can be men and husbands could be women under bizarre word play introduced by the government.

The introduction of gay marriage means old laws which gave protections or benefits to husbands or wives will become outdated.

So ministers have drawn up ‘gobbledegook’ rules which overrule the dictionary and scrap the centuries-old definitions of male and female spouses.

Words: A married man will be known as a wife or a husband under laws in England and Wales as a result of gay marriage being legalised

Words: A married man will be known as a wife or a husband under laws in England and Wales as a result of gay marriage being legalised

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is due to complete its final stages through Parliament this summer.

But updated guidance issued in ‘explanatory notes’ reveals the baffling explanation of how ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ will become interchangeable.

It sets out how every mention of a marriage in any existing laws must now be considered to include same sex marriages, in addition to a wedding between a man and a woman.

And where legislation refers to a ‘husband’ or a ‘wife’ it must now be taken to mean either a man or a woman who has tied the knot.

The Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963 states that health and safety rules need not apply if the only person employed to work there is the ‘husband, wife, civil partner ……of the person by whom they are so employed’.

The new guidance states: ‘This means that “husband” here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman.

‘In a similar way, “wife” will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man.

‘The result is that this section is to be construed as including both male and female same sex marriage.’

But the ruyling has been crtiicised for reversing centuries of understanding about what spouses are called.

During debates in Parliament, Lord Tebbit said: ‘It sounds not merely like gobbledegook but the reversal of the natural and normal meaning of words.’

A spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage, which campaigns against the change, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We always knew the Government would tie itself in knots trying to redefine marriage, and this shows what a ridiculous mess they’ve created.

‘This mangling of the English language shows what happens when politicians meddle with marriage. They’re in cloud cuckoo land.’


wife, noun. A woman joined to a man by marriage; a married woman. Correlative to husband n.

husband, noun. A man joined to a woman by marriage. Correlative to wife n.

(Source: Oxford English Dictionary)


SOURCE: Daily Mail

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