Gay couple to sue Church over gay marriage opt-out

The homosexual couple promoted by the British government to help sell the state’s new gay marriage legislation to the public have now claimed that the policy does not go far enough, and are considering suing the Church in yet another push to redefine the institution of marriage.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings. He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because, “I am still not getting what I want”.

Critics argued, when the British government instituted the gay marriage legislation earlier this year, that campaigners would not be satisfied with their newfound equality, and indeed force religious institutions to marry them also. It seems that this new development may prove those campaigners correct.

The government bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament recently, but it included measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings. Mr Drewitt-Barlow said: “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.”

The gay couple shot to fame in 1999 when they became the first British same-sex couple to be named on their children’s birth certificates. They entered a civil partnership in 2006, and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow has reportedly donated around £500,000 to groups lobbying for same-sex marriage.

Last year the Church of England warned that the Government’s plans to redefine marriage could trigger legal problems and end the 500-year link between church and state.

In January this year a leading lawyer cautioned that the plans left the Church of England open to legal challenge and British Prime Minister David Cameron was sent a copy of the opinion by Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury. In June 2012 Crispin Blunt MP, who was then a Justice Minister, admitted that the Government’s plans could lead to legal issues.

He said the Government is “seeking to protect, indeed, proscribe religious organisations from offering gay marriage”, but he continued: “That may be problematic legally”.

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  • Philip McMullen

    Whodathunk? The Church must avoid whining and claiming victim status on the one hand and giving in to the spirit of the age on the other. It’s a great opportunity to preach the good news of Jesus.

  • Penfold

    Commentary said that the militants wouldn’t be satisfied.

    Why pick on Churches, shouldn’t they be suing Mosques.

  • Normandee

    The good news?, someone can absolutely prove he existed?. that will be good news for the cults that have been earning a fat living, and killing remorselessly in his name for the last 2000 years

  • Philip McMullen

    A tad hysterical there aren’t we?

  • Casiekyle

    How uncivilized to sue an institution that you want something from. It really doesn’t matter what this guy wants or what the government declares. God instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman. I bet many homosexuals do not even believe in God. Why do they want any part of this institution?

  • Jaime Renee

    A church should not be forced to perform a ceremony the congregation, pastor or priest don’t agree with. Instead they should be looking for churches that are WILLING to perform the ceremony and promoting them within the gay community.

  • Emgeekay

    Homosexuals are never going to be satisfied; that’s the nature of their game. They want special treatment and as soon as they get it, they demand more special treatment and so it goes on like a drug addict needing more and more of a drug to satisfy his need. Although I do not condone homosexuality, I am sympathetic to those who have these inclinations and temptations. However, just like heterosexuals with their own inclinations and temptations, most mature adults learn not to give in to every whim. Having a temper tantrum every time we do not get everything we want (or think we want) rarely ends well.

  • Stevie_D

    Yeah, except for the fact that marriage exists in most cultures, regardless of any religious connotations. The church has claimed rights to marriage that it can’t justify. Marriage existed before Christianity, and the church then appropriated it as another way of controlling the masses.

    No, personally I don’t believe in Christianity, so I wouldn’t want to get married in church. But I know several gay people who are Christians, and who – given the opportunity – would choose to do so.

  • D Marie

    God is the one who created everything….When He made Adam and Eve he made them man and wife…so yes marriage has been around a lot longer than Christianity and the church. However it doesn’t change the fact that GOD made marriage between MAN AND WOMAN!

  • Chaplain Michael

    Just a note to all the experts that make things up, the ancient Church blessed civil marriages. The Church was not in the marriage business and needs to go back to that status. Members of the Church that fit the definition of one actual man and one actual woman can then have their civil union blessed as the sacrament. Why don’t these two boys go find a mosque and make their demands.

  • Donna Kleinfeldt-Rolls

    Gay people I know aren’t religious in fact more ANTI religion. So, are these guys religious or is it just whining because the whole world doesn’t agree?

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  • Rmic

    It’s another attempt by militant degenerates to force what belongs to Holy God to bend to their perversion and sanction their vile rebellion against Him, His laws and His Creation ! The True Church or assembly of called out ones is not a building or an institution although it may include such things at it’s core it is the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ.Such being the case it can never succumb to the dictates of perverts and chicken hearted, intellectually and morally vacuous politicians or a backslidden, degenerate and darkened culture !

  • Fr. Alexis

    Chaplain Michael:

    See the Letter of St. Igantius to St. Polycarp:

    “But it becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust.”

    I don’t know who ever came up this idea that “the Church was not in the business of marrying” but it is clearly an inaccuracy based historical misinformation that has become widespread.

  • Zach Purnell

    If you want a religion that has different rules, then create your own. You can’t use the law to force a religion to change you dumb f*cks

  • Normandee

    No, I wouldn’t say so, hysterical would be the over reaction of the “followers” of any religion when threatened, or questioned. Catholic mass murders in the past, Muslim atrocities, gay bashing by religious freaks, the murders of abortion doctors, history and the present has been and is full of hysterics displayed by religion. No, mine is quite a measured response, I don’t actually want to kill anybody because I don’t believe in God, but there are those out there that would happily kill me for my belief. That’s hysterical.

  • Philip McMullen

    Well you certainly conflate a whole lot of things there. But it is worth remembering that in the last century the vast amount of killing was done by avowedly atheistic governments in democide – Russia maybe 35 million, China maybe 95 million…..

    But here’s the thing. I was never out to claim that Christians (I cannot answer for other religions) are never or have never been violent or murderous. I freely acknowledge that we have. I take no pleasure in that. It ought not to be.

    The persecution of Christians around the globe is well documented. Certainly today, in many Islamic countries (some others as well) we are considerably more victims than perpetrators of violence and intimidation. As I said in the original post – we should not consider ourselves victims in this country – we have plenty of illustrations from around the world as to what real persecution looks like, so I am not arguing for any special privileges.

    Lastly you say some people who believe in God (Christians?) would happily kill you. I do not know of a Christian who wants to kill you for any reason. If you do know a Christian who really intends to murder you please report them to the police. Me and all the other Christians I know would stand on your side.

    Warm regards.

  • Martha Hugh

    Do they go to church?

  • Stevie_D

    Jesus wept … I thought we had moved since the third century but this forum shows that no matter how far society evolves, there will still be people who prefer not to engage a single brain cell.

  • SadButMadLad

    The bible might say something about marriage, but in the past until the Church become the defacto state, it wasn’t involved in marriage. In times before The Church, people hitched up in a variety of ceremonies. It was only when The Church got involved in all forms of society and controlled it that it controlled marriage too.

  • SadButMadLad

    If homosexuals want a religious wedding and the current christian denominations don’t provide one, they can set up their own. Why force a group of people who have beliefs not compatible with those of homosexuals to change their ways. Why not instead create your own branch of Christianity. There are enough denominations already, one more won’t make much difference.

  • Ray

    And there are atheist statists who have engaged in mass murder against Christians, Jews, and other religious people – and are stiil doing so today – throughout the twentieth century and into the 21st – at a much higher rate than the one sided history you try to present here. Utopian statism is the most murderous belief in history, followed by monarchy and aristocracy. Also, no serious historian has ever made a credible claim that Jesus did not exist, whatever his nature was. I would hold that there many more atheists today who would gladly commit genocide against Christians today if they could, than the other way around.

  • Chaplain Michael

    Yes, but what point is Polycarp making by writing this? Surely you don’t believe he is claiming that any Roman that wishes to join in a legal contract of marriage should get the blessing of their bishop? This was the early years of the Church, when Christians were in hiding and Roman law saw marriage as a contract. Of course, if a couple is seeking to marry in Christ and find a mate in order to live and grow in a Christian marriage, having the advice and blessing (pre-marital spiritual counseling remains a must in the Orthodox Church) is essential. For the population at this time in Rome, and today the radical post-modern gang currently trying to redefine what marriage is, there is hardly any relevance. If these two had gone to an actual Christian bishop, he would have told them to stop living in sin and don’t destroy a child by bringing one into their relationship as a prop.

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  • Normandee

    See my reply to Philip McMullen below

  • Fr. Alexis

    You and I, it seems, are both clear on what St. Polycarp meant by writing this.

    The Holy Tradition lived throughout the continuous life of the Church, the Christian way has no distinction in marriage the way it is played out today. Those entering the Church who were married were received in the Church with their marriage. The Church sanctified what was already there — no different than an actual person themselves, meaning that the Church filled what was lacking, just like Baptism (which does not obliterate the person, but rather the old man it put off and the new man put on).

    However, this is much different than the Roman Catholic understanding of Marriage, esp. who the ministers are (Catholics see the spouses as administers and hence have annulments, whereas Orthodox preserve the Holy Tradition — the Church is the administer).

    I wouldn’t say there is hardly any relevance. There is a prevailing idea that the Church didn’t have marriage, but elevated it to the level of a Sacrament, therefore there is this distinction of civil marriages and Church marriage.

    For the Orthodox Christian, there is on marriage in Christ. Marriage is Divinely Revealed to be good and blessed by God. This is our witness to others, so while we (or the Saints before us) may not “tell the government what to do”, we witness the Truth of it — whether it is accepted or not. Sadly, in our times, many have turned against “Christian” understandings of various things in society (marriage, family, procreation, relationships, sexuality, worldview, creation, worship, work).

  • Fr. Alexis


    This is a great recounting of the modern narrative of Church and the “marriage business”. Sorry, but it is historically inaccurate.

    Christians were united in Christ in the Church in direct continuation with those whom God instructed before Christ’s coming. This has continued until even now, the present day.

    Christians conformed to the state understanding of marriage only in so much as it kept with Christian teaching. Also, the State sought the Church, not the other way around. Even when this did happen, the idea of symphonia was being developed — the State being the civil authority, the Church being the spiritual authority of Christians, a model of what is good in society.

    What is more, since we people in first world countries don’t have to worry about the Vandals of barbarians coming through and razing and pillaging and raping, we have no concept of the brightness and illumination on culture — the civilizing reality — brought by Christianity to “pagan” (simply, non-Christian) lands and people.

    Perhaps we all fail to realize it in our modern age, but Christian brought great peace, love and civility to the places it evangelized.

  • Normandee

    So where to start. OK so lets dispense with the smoke screens, Monarchistic, and Aristocrat driven violence was in most cases being driven by Religion from behind, the Crusades being a good example. In the middle ages Catholics and protestant killings were carried out on behalf of or in the name of religion. So lets look at Atheists, in the case of Russia and China certainly, communists. The only real difference between the two, the Church and the communist state, is the lack of a so called god figure in the one, it being replaced by a dictator in the other. Religion and communism both being led by autocratic leaders and an elite cabal, neither of which were governed by the rules it forced on it’s supplicants or people below it, who were kept in place by threats of torture in a another place, either in an after life or in very real prisons. In some cases the “another place” being very much of this world as in the inquisitions.
    The Muslims obviously have another set of rules, where death and torture are, nowadays, certainly routine, they as has been seen around the world would kill me in the name of their god without a second thought. The “Christian” religions, you are careful not to specify which they are, have modernised and are not the powerful force they used to be, in that they know they cannot behave in the manner they used to in a modern secular society, most people having seen through the smoke and mirrors and are Christians purely through habit and routine, and an incurable fear of death as a final solution.
    We are for instance seeing through some more windows at the moment into the Vatican which is a worms nest of incestuous behaviour, and crime, as it always has been.

    I am not a very well educated man so there will be things I have missed, but I am satisfied that your fears or lies about atheists reflect a concern that they could be right, you having only “faith”, and the atheists having science.

  • Ray

    No, no, haha! Rest assured, I have no doubts or fears about atheists being right, but talk about smokescreens. Monarchy and it’s accompanying depravities far predate Christianity and other religions in cultures around the world. Now, of course it is prescient that the fall of the Church and the rise of the State are not at all coincidental, exchanging worship of one to another but it also makes a very strong, convincing historical point about the folly of atheism as the humanist statism far outstrips Judeo – Christian societies in sheer depravity. When ever man has tried to replace God with man, the resultant cost to the world becomes far worse than what existed before. The twentieth century, the 1st in which whole societies rejected God, is bloodier than all previous centuries combined. The central tragedy of the twentieth is the worship of the State. And the unfettered State combined with what Churchill called ” the perversions of godless science” provided the world, the most technologically advanced that it had ever been with it’s greatest violence ever. An individuals atheism is of no concern to me. I have atheist friends that I respect and admire. What I hate, however, is the intolerance of so many for whom tolerance is the banner they claim above all else, like these two activists here, who want to be free of the Church’s influence in their lives but then do not refain from telling the Church that it must acquiesce to their beliefs. That is hypocrisy of the highest order. I myself do not actively participate in an organized religion but I do not automatically hate those who do. My regards .

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  • Normandee

    I don’t hate in the sense you want to mean, that is to portray me as an atheist as a hater because that fits your picture better, and your defences are poor and desperate. Which illustrates doubt, but your reference to Monarchy actually demonstrates the arrogance of your religion, you talk about it as if it only began in the year 1. As you well know man’s desire to control man by fear and threats based on superstition has been around for many thousands of years before that. Look at the ritual killings in the name of god in the South American countries, the Teotihuacan for example pre-date your Jesus, and there were many others. Stop thinking about everything as regards Christianity, this is only important to you because it is your particular crutch. Quoting people as Churchill is a waste of time, as a politician he would use a language designed to appeal, and part of branding the communists in a religious society was to point out it’s replacement of religion as a form of control as a bad thing, when in fact from a communist point of view it is important to replace the church as a master to strengthen your control. Hitler, Mussolini and Franco all had the support of the church, and the church was happy to go along with them because it feared communism more than fascism. Obviously until they started to lose that is.

    Using ever greater numbers of deaths as an example of the failings of non religious groups is not valid either because the numbers involved only reflect to a large extent the vastly greater numbers of people in the world. Destroying 10% of the population of Russia in the 1st century BC, is obviously going to be a much smaller number than 10% of the population in the 1940′s.

    You echo your desperation, whereas I am completely unmoved by your argument because there never has been any substantial evidence of your absolute right in your belief.

  • Steve Lloyd

    Comment modded. Dear me is there no right wing blog that will allow contentious comments anymore? Is there no right wing blog that will face up to the truth anymore? Outside of UKIP does the right even exist anymore? It’s no wonder we’re flailing.

  • Neil Ashley

    Because if members of the Muslim community wanted a homosexual union in a mosque; they would, most certainly, be marked out for death by some members of that community.

  • Neil Ashley

    Since the bible in both Old and New Testaments explicitly condemns homosexual behaviour; one cannot be a so-called Gay Christian.

  • Ray

    Thank you for further proving my point and contradicting your own about royalist violence and ritual slaughter being the sole province of Christianity. And I did use the term “other religious people” in spite of your efforts to claim otherwise. More atheistic tolerance, I suppose. The claim that Hitler had the backing of The Vatican is a long disproved myth. History’s two greatest mass murderers, Stalin and Mao, certainly had no religious support. Again, atheist utopianism at it’s most brutally efficient. Mussolini and Franco did because the the Catholic Church, clergy, and members were faced with being slaughtered so a natural gravitation toward someone offering protection was understandable. I don’t know why you resorted to percentage of populations killed but that is neither here nor there. I am unconcerned with moving you and I do not have to provide you or anyone with evidence to justify my own beliefs. They are mine alone. I am not at all desperate but you seem to be quite the hysteric. Good luck to you.

  • Ruth Mills

    Specifically, it’s the Church of England that is legally prevented from holding same sex marriage ceremonies. Irrespective of whether or not an individual C of E congregation is for or against same sex marriage. As far as I understand, the Drewitt-Barlows are practicing Christians in the Church of England.

    However, this does not apply to other denominations (when the Equal Marriage Bill becomes law) – so there would then be nothing to stop a church from another denomination from conducting a same sex marriage ceremony, should they wish to – e.g. I imagine that many Unitarian churches in the UK will be happy to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies, and likewise many Quaker meeting houses too – along with other liberal denominations. As it will be up to an individual congregation as to whether or not they wish to conduct same sex marriages – so many conservative Christian denominations will probably choose not to.

    So, I would be in partial agreement with the Drewitt-Barlows, in as much as I disagree with there being a blanket ban on all C of E churches being able to offer same sex marriages – as I feel that this should be down to an individual congregation to decide. But, if that were the case, then I would not think it right for people to be able to sue a particular church for not offering same sex marriage – as surely it should be down to that particular congregation as to whether or not they wish to offer same sex marriage? As there are quite a spectrum of beliefs within the Church of England as a whole; some congregations will be more liberal, others more conservative.

    However, even in the legislation’s current form, the Drewitt-Barlows would still technically be able to get married in a non-C of E church, assuming they were able to find one that was offering same-sex marriage that was a reasonably close match for their particular beliefs.

  • Normandee

    I am going to end this now because it is not a discussion it is a desperate defence of the nothing you have faith in and are too scared to question.

    For the record, I don’t hate you or anyone else because you or they have religion, again, me being full of hate and you full of love is an essential brick in your defence. I think fear again is a factor, if you are wrong you have nothing, if I am wrong then I have everything to gain (according to you). I live knowing in my own mind that this is my life, it is a fortunate coincidence of chemical facts that have created a creature that has become far too clever for it’s own good, and yet being surprisingly stupid enough to believe in fairy tales, because they have no other explanation. I don’t know why I am here, I don’t know how I come to be here, I do know that nothing as parochial or as small as your god can be responsible. I think if your god existed he would snuff out this failed experiment, and start again, it’s a complete mess the whole world is going down the drain, helped in no small part by religion, which has become just another political force.
    Goodbye, best of luck, if you do not change your mind be grateful you will never know you are wrong. Because when it ends, nothing, no sense, no American movie moment,”shit I must be dead !” just nothing, not that you will be aware of that.

  • Ray

    Your responses wreak of fear and contempt for humanity. You really are quite emotional.

  • Normandee

    Trying to have the last word eh ?, I am not emotional or afraid that’s the point. I do not hold humanity in contempt, I am sorry for humanity because of the state it in and why it is in that state, for which religion must take it’s share of the blame.

  • Allen Christopher Sokolik Jr.

    If they want to live in sin then I say go to a justice of a peace or to a judge to get married. But a church is a house of God & they should not have one in the house of the Lord cuz God created marriage between a man & a woman that is why he made Adam & Eve and did not make two men or two women. So if they want to live in sin then there is other ways that I said above.

  • Erin

    In short: These men are doing exactly what they say everyone has done to them; forcing their beliefs on them! That is the problem I have with this. Pushing the church and doing this is just retaliation and the government and court should throw it out!

  • blingmun

    “Jesus wept” said atheist Stevie_D without irony, “there be people who prefer not to engage a single brain cell”.

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  • bwims

    This is exactly the reason why Putin needs to hold firm. Give them an inch and they take nine.

  • suedeblue

    I have a feeling that this pair would likely complain about many things and not just how hard done by they think they are. They should blame nature if they are not happy with themselves not the church of england.

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  • Jaime Renee

    I know of several churches in my area who embrace homosexuals, because Jesus wouldn’t have turned them away. I think this particular couple is simply trying to stir things up and specifically sought out a church to target for their own stupid selfish reasons. They’re loving the publicity!

  • Jaime Renee

    no one in the church threatened to kill this couple for wanting a gay marriage. The couple is trying to force their lifestyle on the church, simply to stir up trouble and get some attention for themselves.

  • Little Black Censored

    Presumably yes, since they are “practising” members of the C of E. Do they follow the Church’s teachings? – i.e. what else are they practising? Do they confess their sins, promise amendment, receive holy communion? Who are these people to be telling the Church its business?

  • Little Black Censored

    Gosh, that’s a strong argument.

  • Little Black Censored

    I am sorry for humanity
    Says it all.

  • Vex

    So it’s fine for religious groups to lobby and pressure the government but not anyone else?

    Get back in the DeLorean, we’ll send you back to 1100AD where you might feel more at home.

  • Vex

    “Bawwwwww~ How dare this gay couple not bow to my warped view of reality, my extreme views and wishes regardless of what the majority or other faiths think”.

    The day these two get hitched (and they will) will be a cause for celebration in my eyes. No-one is above the law of the land, no buisness, no arm of government and no church. Gay marriage will become legal in a few months time and I do hope someone carries legislation further demanding it’s acknowledgement on a wider scale.

    God bless them, I wish them good luck with their case!

  • Zach Purnell

    No, separation of church and state goes both ways. Stop telling people what to do.

  • Vex

    I’m not, I’m just pointing out the ridiculous nature of this argument. And it is.

    Don’t want a gay marriage? Don’t get one and don’t attend one but don’t force other people to live as you do.

  • Zach Purnell

    I wasn’t referring to you, I was referring to both sides of the issue. One side thinks the government should mandate marriage between a man and a woman, the other side wants to extend that mandate to between two people of the same gender. The truth is that we don’t need government’s permission, that it has no business regulating marriage contracts because it inevitably brings about these types of issues.

  • Vex

    I’m not so sure about this. The governments prime interest in regulating marriage is to better define financial obligations, union of assets and help make things clear for the legal system when it comes to matters such as taxes or custody battles.

    I think it would be quite dangerous to leave marriage solely in the hands of groups with such wildly varying views (The Catholic Church for instance claims it is impossible to get divorced, while in Judaism and Islam it’s relatively simple). Which one do we give prime authority to? What do we do when people of differing faiths intermarry and then split?

    The government has to have a share in here somewhere, just so there is some base of common ground for the courts to work from otherwise we have child custody cases where the Hindu woman must retain absolute rights over the children while the Muslim father must also be the only one to hold rights.

  • Zach Purnell

    The absence of Federal regulation does not imply the absence of the criminal court system. Contracts between independent parties can still exist. Common-law marriages were recognized throughout most of history and social issues aren’t the jurisdiction of our federal government.

  • Gladiis

    You get it so straight:

    Piercing reasoning.

    Happy to follow you, noble lady.

  • Gladiis

    You get it so straigh, you sayt:

    They want special treatment and as soon as they get it, they demand more special treatment and so it goes on like a drug addict needing more and more of a drug to satisfy his need.

    Piercing reasoning.

    Happy to follow you, noble lady.

  • Gladiis

    You are gay, a crazy gay, that’s it. And soon I will have my war against you, fools

  • Vex

    I’m actually a fairly average heterosexual woman. And it’s nice to see the Catholic Church (only one of you could have an avatar like that) is all for the wholesale slaughter of the unbelievers still.

    I really can’t imagine why anticatholicism exists.

  • Gladiis

    Why should I believe you? Besides, Did you think that goodness and truth will always stay in a situation of humiliation? Fool… that’s what you wish…. your end is near and your boss knows it.

  • Vex

    Aww, death threats. How very 16th century of you.

    The only thing humiliating is your homophobia.