CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The British government’s promise that no religious organization will be forced to conduct same-sex weddings following the passage of a gay marriage bill may soon be tested.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 -- millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. -- have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child. Photo courtesy Drewitt-Barlow family

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 — millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. — have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child. Photo courtesy Drewitt-Barlow family


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 — millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. — have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child.

Now they have five children by five surrogate mothers. All the children are American citizens born in California.

While planning for a sixth, they told the Daily Mail they plan to sue the Church of England to get married there.

“I want to go to my church and marry my husband,” said Drewitt-Barlow in an interview published Friday (Aug. 2). “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.”

Referring to the legislation that received the queen’s approval last month he said: “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the Church.”

The couple own a company based in Essex called the British Surrogacy Centre. It recently opened a branch in Los Angeles.

The new law stipulates that no religious denomination will be forced to carry out such services.

But that’s not good enough for the couple.

“We need to convince the church that it is the right thing for our community for them to recognize us as practicing Christians,” said Drewitt-Barlow.

“It upsets me because I want it so much — a big lavish ceremony, the whole works. I am a Christian — a practicing Christian — my children have all been brought up as Christians and are part of the local parish church in Danbury.”

Neither the Church of England nor the Roman Catholic Church recognizes gay marriages. Other religious groups, including Orthodox Jews, Hindus and Sikhs do not perform such marriages.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 -- millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. -- have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child. Photo courtesy Drewitt-Barlow family

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 — millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. — have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child. Photo courtesy Drewitt-Barlow family


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Some religious bodies, including Quakers, Unitarians and Reform Jews, say they plan to conduct same-sex weddings when the law goes into effect next year.

The threat of court action against the established Church of England — whose supreme governor is Queen Elizabeth II — has provoked a strong reaction from the Coalition for Marriage, which led opposition to the bill.

Director Colin Hart said Drewitt–Barlow’s comments clearly shows that churches are certain to face litigation.

In a statement, he said: “The ink’s not even dry on the bill and churches are already facing litigation. We warned Mr. Cameron (Britain’s prime minister) this would happen, we told him he was making promises that he couldn’t possibly keep. He didn’t listen. … Mr. Cameron’s chickens are coming home to roost and it will be ordinary people with a religious belief who yet again fall victim to the totalitarian forces of political correctness.”

 

11 Comments

  1. A wake up call for those in this country who think that churches will not be discriminated against for staying true to Gods word and Gods created order.

  2. This is not a story. It is a rumor of a future possibility, so it is fear mongering, akin to lies – and demonstrates a very un-Christian ethic.

    • It’s no rumor its a reality. They may not have filed the case yet but its just a matter of time that a case will be filed both in the UK and the US.

      All churches better take note and prepare.

  3. Though a fascinating story it has little relevance to American churches since we have separation of church and state. With that said gay Christians are as much a part of God’s plan as heterosexuals and should be included equally in the body of Christ. We should stop trying to impose our will on God and accept all of His creatures equally.

    • Everyone is equal. We all sin and are called to stop.

      And the US churches will have to deal with legal challenges so all churches best prepare for that.

    • The Christian church teaches that, though all are sinners, certain open and rebellious sins are not to be tolerated in the actual membership of the church. All are welcome to attend and learn and receive and give love in the body. But membership is only for those willing to publicly accept the teachings of Christ in their walk. I Corinthians 5 gives the example for the Christian church in dealing with open sins of this nature: Paul removes from their midst persons openly and unrepentantly violating the Ten Commandments. To legally force the church to do otherwise is a denial of that church’s religious liberty.

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