Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow sue the Church of England over gay marriage
Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow are homosexual, and that is entirely their affair. They are and ought to remain free in their personal beliefs about sexuality, morality and the ordering of creation.
They are both practising Christians, and this is also a good thing. As Pope Francis recently said, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
In 1999 they became the first British same-sex couple to be named on their children’s birth certificates, which was very nice for them.
They entered into a civil partnership in 2006, and this provision of the state is wholly right and proper. As the Archbishop of Canterbury observed, some same-sex couples have loving and monogamous relationships of 'stunning quality'. This one has lasted 26 years: it is exemplary.
They then adopted more children - currently five - which is a laudable undertaking: the rearing of children is the most onerous responsibility on earth. It is better by far that orphans be reared in loving homes rather than barren and loveless state institutions. Moreover, these children are being raised in the Christian faith: they have all been baptised and the family worships at their local parish church in Danbury.
The Drewitt-Barlows are also very wealthy - millionaires, indeed - which is a wonderful blessing for them all. They have manifestly been given very much, so from them much might be expected.
But it transpires they are not entirely happy. “I am still not getting what I want,” cried Barrie, stamping his foot on the plush purple shagpile. And so they are now suing their local parish church - the fellowship where they worship; where their children were baptised; and which supported Tony through the trauma of throat cancer a few years ago - because they can't get married there.
Quite why they think this is the fault of their parish church is unknown, but on this matter they seem to have more money than sense. The Church of England is bound by the law of the land, and it is Parliament which has emphatically prohibited the state church in England (and Wales) from performing same-sex marriages.
But Tony and Barrie are intent on forcing the matter, and so the Church of England will be embroiled in lengthy (and very expensive) litigation. “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise us,” said Barrie.
Sod Scripture (1Cor 6:5-7).
He added: “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."
Now, this doesn't strike His Grace as a good example to set the children. Throwing a hissy fit because "I am still not getting what I want” is a little childish, to say the least. We all want things very much, Barrie, but we're not all so loaded that we're accustomed to getting them.
Take religious liberty, Barrie.
Why should a free church - or, indeed, any religious institution in a liberal democracy - be subject to the coercion of the wealthy and powerful? Surely the Christian way - since you say you are both practising Christians - is to engage in constructive dialogue and gentle persuasion - with both church and state; not piss everybody off - including some of your co-sexualists - with haughty threats, aggressive lawsuits and interfering demands.
The Church of England is protected in law by a 'quadruple lock', Barrie. Has your (expensive) barrister not told you that? We have been assured by the Secretary of State no less that this is inviolable; that the Gates of Equality and Human Rights shall not prevail against it.
But Barrie isn't getting what he wants.
And neither is Tony.
So His Grace wishes them well in their lawsuit.
He is only sorry that the Drewitt-Barlows are not suing their local mosque.