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Gay dads set to sue over church same-sex marriage opt-out

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: August 02, 2013

  • HAPPY COUPLE: Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow at the Civil Partnership ceremony in 2006

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BARRIE Drewitt-Barlow, one half of county's most recognised gay dads, has praised the Queen's ratification of gay marriage but said it is "bitter sweet" as Christian churches still opt against the ceremony.

Britain finally legalised gay marriage when the Queen gave her royal stamp of approval on July 17 after the bill was introduced in January.

The Queen's approval of the Marriage Bill clears the way for gay marriages, the first of which are expected to be conducted by summer 2014.

But religious organisations will have to "opt in" on performing gay marriages, and the Church of England and Catholic Church are not willing.

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"It is like someone giving me a sweetie with the wrapper on and telling me to suck it," said father-of-five, Barrie, 42, from Maldon, who had a civil partnership with partner Tony, in 2006.

The couple made history in 1999 when they became Britain's first gay surrogate parents and have now fathered five children through surrogacy.

"We are happy for gay marriage to be recognised – in that sense it is a big step. But it is actually a small step because it is something we still cannot actually do.

"We need to convince the church that it is the right thing for our community for them to recognise as practising Christians.

"I am a Christian – a practising Christian – my children have all been brought up as Christians and are part of the local parish church in Danbury.

"I want to go into my church and marry my husband.

"If I was a Sikh I could get married at the Gurdwara, liberal Jews can marry in the Synagogue – just not the Christians.

"It upsets me because I want it so much – a big lavish ceremony, the whole works, I just don't think it is going to happen straight away.

"As much as people are saying this is a good thing I am still not getting what I want."

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced that gay marriage had become enshrined in law – the day after the bill to legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales cleared Parliament.

The Bill allows gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, and couples who had previously entered into a civil partnership can now convert their relationship to a marriage.

"We have a civil partnership, me and my husband Tony," said Barrie, who owns a surrogacy centre in Chandlers Quay, Maldon, and is about to open another in Los Angeles.

"The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.

"It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise us.

"But we don't want to force anyone into marrying us – it is supposed to be the happiest day in my life and that would make me miserable and would spoil the whole thing.

"Aren't Christians meant to forgive and accept and love?"

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  • DonMac  |  August 10 2013, 8:09PM

    "But we don't want to force anyone into marrying us – it is supposed to be the happiest day in my life and that would make me miserable and would spoil the whole thing. Um ... Why are you going to court then you intolerant bigot? Its very strange that the biggest champions of "tolerance" are, in fact, the most intolerant and bigoted individuals themselves. I, for one, cannot understand how anyone can actually believe that "gay marriage" can be a marriage by any stretch of the word. Governments and others can "redefine" as they wish but a marriage is between a man and a woman - period. To believe that a man "marrying" another man or a woman "marrying" another woman is a marriage is to believe a lie. Governments and others can redefine anything they like but they cannot, in reality, change anything. An apple can be redefined to be an orange till doomsday but it will still be an apple on doomsday. Those that chose to believe that an apple was an orange would find out that, whether they liked it or not, it was actually still an apple and they had believed a lie.

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  • Cromulent  |  August 09 2013, 5:11AM

    "It is like someone giving me a sweetie with the wrapper on and telling me to suck it," Well, I do think that is something you're familiar with, no?

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  • tajmahal  |  August 07 2013, 10:55PM

    I'm reliably informed that the Conservative party approached Mr Drewitt-Barlow asking him to be their "gay" candidate. This shows just what a PC, leftist party this has become under Cameron. Nice to read a politician standing up for Christian truth in 21c GB. A very rare site! Whether you are a staunch, Bible-believing evangelical, a RC or any other Christian denomination, or someone who believes in traditional Christian values, particularly traditional marriage and the family, it is clear that UKIP are the party to vote for, as the Tories, like Labour and the Liberals, have, to their shame, stopped supporting traditional marriage and family life. The same is true of the queen and the royals (except when it comes to securing their rotten dynasty).

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  • tajmahal  |  August 06 2013, 7:03PM

    The Apostle Paul said, "no homosexual shall enter the Kingdom of God." The Book of Leviticus cites homosexuality as an abomination. Homosexual practice is one of many sexual sins, that equally include adultery and fornication. This means that thw Bible, Christianity and the Church is not discriminating against gays and lesbians. Rather, it is adhering to the Scriptural precedent that this form of sexuality is wrong and leads to damnation. All of us, straight and gay, need to take a good, hard, long examination of ourselves. We're all sinners and we all need to repent before God and be reconciled with Him via His Son, Jesus Christ. The New Testament says, "If you believe with you heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord you will be saved." The Bible does not change because God does not change. It cannot and will not be changed just to suit the perverted zeitgeist of the 21c. Marriage is designed exclusively to be between a man and a woman, nothing else. Anything else is a hideous distortion. As for litigation, I would urge Mr Drewitt-Barlow and his supporters to remember that he (as will we all) will one day stand before an eternal court - the Judgement Seat of Christ - where he will have to give an account of his life and his determination to fight the Word of God and the Body of Christ (the Church).

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  • kgs_komet  |  August 06 2013, 2:59AM

    I am saddened that this story only serves to reflect the delusion and confusion of people of our times. The church recognises all humans and is there to show how far the world has fallen from the Godly ideal and not to be force to accept or condone every whim of the age, whether it be abortion, divorce or gay marriage The fact that allegedly these two men want to take the Church (general or a particular denomination; it is not clear like their thinking) to court to force it to recognise them is misguided in the extreme for the Church cannot be forced to change its ethos for whilst certainly clergy may hold opinions in some respects which may be at odds with the Bible's teaching the fact is that the Bible will always be there as an historical constant whether certain persons like it or not and will not be re-written to suit the latest whim; God does not change. One might ask who do these persons think they are adopting a stance putting their desires above others. Why should the Church change to suit for does it not have a right to pursue and continue its ways without let or hindrance in a democracy? Why do such persons feel that the church should change. Should they not form their own church where they and any other persons with similar desires could have whatever ceremony they require. Why do these persons want to have a church service or a ceremony in God's house when clearly they likely as not do not attend church or if they do clearly whilst they have heard God's word have neither listened to or applied it. Is it something blasphemous or devilish they want to do in the church one wonders. In a democracy we all have to endure matters that are not necessarily what we would want. If one were not a Labour voter the Tony Blair years would likely not have been one's choice just as similarly may be the case over the question of membership of the EU; and obviously you can consider your own examples. When I read about persons who consider theirselves to be Christian and yet maintain diametrically opposed views to the Bible I am saddened, especially when in our nation such persons have so much freedom, benefits and legislation as to their choice of lifestyle, that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is evidently lacking and delusion reigns in their lives. What are they really wanting? Can they not enjoy all the new freedom that has been allowed in society to cater for their choice without having to take away another's choice. One last thought, as well as taking to court the institutions of the Christian faith are they also intending legal action against the various religions which can be found in our nation or is their intent based on a discrimination. I do hope that these persons and any others will think long and hard before pursuing action of any kind for it will only go to prove the inconsistency of thought - that they should dictate accommodation and change to others but not be subjected to such counter dictats or be required to change . If you were to be a member of the Conservatives would you expect to be allowed time at the annual conference to promote UKIP! Would you seriously expect to be allowed to retain your membership? Thus why treat the Church in a similar fashion, for you will not receive blessing and it is unlikely that in all sincerity and truth you will be rewarded with the special occasion you crave. Stuart Tanner UKIP

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  • Disciple  |  August 05 2013, 10:19PM

    Agree - going to church doesn't make one a Christian. I went to a church for three years, thinking I was a Christian, well, was trying to be, yet knowing deep inside I was falling short. I was actually "religious" - going through the motions. It was only when the Lord worked in my life and brought me to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, that I was born again of the Holy Spirit, and my life began to change from the inside out. One becomes a Christian when one is brought under conviction of one's sinfulness by the Holy Spirit, who brings revelation regarding who Jesus Christ is, what he has done for us through his death and resurrection, so that one repents from one's sin and receives/ surrenders to Jesus Christ as Lord of one's life. Jesus Christ is clearly not Lord of Mr Drewitt-Barlow's life. He is unrepentant and is wanting to control his life. His god is his homosexuality, which dominates his life, rather than Jesus Christ, who called us to die to self-will and choose God's will. Jesus came to set us free, not to leave us in bondage to our sin.

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  • tajmahal  |  August 05 2013, 7:31PM

    Cameron is a closet commie posing as a toffee-nosed Tory. He has a cankered marxist mindset. Under him the Tory party is as sick as Labour and the Liberals. The best way to teach him and the lousy Conservatives a lesson is to go out and vote UKIP. Cameron and the queen are also hypocrites. If one of Cameron's children turns out to be gay, he will be horrified, as would the queen be if the same proves to be true of the new prince. Marriage was and is divinely intended to be between a man and a woman. Nothing else. The churches need to stand together on this one. There can be no compromise. True Biblical Christianity is not about being popular and caving in to degenerate, perverted politicians and royals. Adherence to the Word of God superseded the law, where the law is twisted, warped and contrary to God's law as lain down in the Holy Scriptures. It'll be interested to see if the government, local government and the pigs are as ready to harass Moslem and other religious leaders as they are Christian ministers and priests? Probably not. All symptomatic of a GB that has lost the plot and become a godless, sick cess-pit!

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  • jm208  |  August 05 2013, 9:05AM

    This is the very reason that churches were opposed to gay marriage. It is not because we are homophobic it is because we feared that our religious liberty was under threat.

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  • karen_grube  |  August 04 2013, 5:44AM

    Guess you just didn't get the memo. This was ALWAYS all about destroying traditional marriage, denying children both a mom and a dad, and promoting religious persecution against anyone with deeply held religious beliefs against SSM. Cameron needs to go . . . NOW!

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  • tajmahal  |  August 03 2013, 4:04PM

    Regardless of what degenerate politicians and a decrepid monarch say and ratify, true, genuine, authentic and bona fide marriage, in the eyes of God, is between a man and a woman. That will never change as the Word of God (The Bible) never changes. All Church leaders, regardless of the cost imposed by immoral, leftist, degenerate 21c Britain and its cankered, perverted political establishment, most hold fast to this. Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of society, civilisation and history. What we are seeing in this continuing persecution of the Church and Christian truth is the beginnings of a totalitarian state in this country. This is deeply troubling. Christians must stand for the truth. Marriage is between a man and a woman, nothing else.

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