'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'."
A draft divorce bill, drawn up last year, and submitted to civil servants, sets out how divorce laws could be overhauled to accommodate the changes. 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.'
So, when the Government 'consults' with gay groups, these groups are allowed to draft the legislation but when the Churches are consulted they are told not to polarise the debate, or, actually, to express their opinion because it might be offensive to the gay groups. Now, that's what I call a free, equal, open and fair consultation! The language of husband, wife, mother, father are now to disappear to be replaced by 'spouse 1', 'spouse 2' or something equally atrocious - because of the same-sex marriage bill - which hasn't even been voted on by Parliament yet, let alone made it through the consultation!
Then, after all that, when it is obvious that Government and civil service is already hiring the wreaking ball for the demolition of the institution of marriage, Ben Summerskill claims that, despite what you've just read on the The Telegraph, fears that the language of 'husband and wife' would disappear are 'based on a false premise'. What 'false premise' might that be, Ben? The premise that the Government are doing exactly that and all at your behest? Then, just to cap it all off, the Stonewall chief executive says "It is precisely because gay people want to be husband and wife that we are seeking this change". So, Ben, which one is the husband and which one is the wife? What an insult to men and women and husbands and wives that ridiculous statement is. The same-sex marriage proposal has not yet gone through consultation period yet, let alone gone before Parliament and already, it would appear, it is obvious that its impact on the institution of marriage will be similar to the image above. For further reading, I recommend Gay Marriage: Eight Centuries of English Law Obliterated Overnight, in which the writer says that the Minister responsible for re-writing English law will have quite an undertaking on his or her hands. The terms 'husband' appears on statute 1,003 times. The term 'wife' appears appears on statute 888 times,