GAY COUPLE SET TO SUE CHURCH OF ENGLAND OVER REFUSAL TO OFFER SAME-SEX NUPTIALS
With Britain’s legalization of same-sex marriage will likely also come a legal battle for the Church of England. Following the queen’s blessing of gay nuptials, one couple is going to challenge at least one religious denomination that refuses to marry homosexuals.
With the Church of England and the Catholic Church refusing to opt-in to officiating same-sex marriages, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, a well-known gay advocate, told the Essex Chronicle he is planning to challenge the former institution in court.
Barrie, who joined into a civil partnership with a man named Tony in 2006, says he’s a practicing Christian who is less-than-content with the churches’ views. The couple has five children.
“It is like someone giving me a sweetie with the wrapper on and telling me to suck it,” he said. “We are happy for gay marriage to be recognized — in that sense it is a big step. But it is actually a small step because it is something we still cannot actually do.”
Watch the couple talk about their relationship and parenthood below:
Barrie wants to convince the church that recognizing gay marriages is the right thing to do. Since he says he’s a Christian and that his kids, as a result, are also practicing believers, churches, in his view, should acknowledge his union.
“I want to go into my church and marry my husband,” he added. “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.”
Barrie said that it would be a shame to take Christians to court and that he doesn’t want to force anyone to allow him to marry. Still, he seemed open to using the courts to accomplish this goal.
The Gay Star News reported the couple has hired lawyers to potentially battle the Church of England in court. The government, however, claims that churches are protected from being forced to marry same-sex couples. Still, Barrie and Tony plan to forge on, as they told GSN:
“[It] is a matter of opinion. There are legal pathways to go down and before we make a conclusive step forward we have to explore every avenue. We have been speaking to very senior legal advisors with Cannon Law experience who feel that there actually may be a case to answer.
What the outcome maybe, is another question. We shall have to wait and see, but at the end of the day, the pressure will be highly visible and the church will be in the spot light again for discrimination against the same-sex community.”
So, based on these media accounts, a lawsuit may soon be afoot.
This story follows debate in America and, most recently, controversial comments from Sen. Ted Cruz. The Texas Republican sparked debate last month when he told CBN’s David Brody that the push in favor of same-sex unions in America could put First Amendment protections at risk.
“If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step of where it gets enforced,” Cruz said of hate speech regulations that are in place in other countries.
“It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage and that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech — as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government,” he added.
While some will see Barrie and Tony’s legal fight as a valiant effort to legalize gay unions, others will likely agree with Cruz that the issue could spark concerns, even in America. Still, as the British government has said, churches are protected and cannot be forced to marry same-sex couples. How this plays out in practice once wedding start in Britain next year remains to be seen.