ENGLAND: A homosexual couple in England want the courts to force the Church of England to marry them.
On July 17, 2013, legislation allowing gay marriage in England was formally passed. The law is expected to come into effect in 2014. There was a provision in the bill automatically exempting Churches from performing such marriages. Churches need to officially opt-in if they want to perform gay marriages. Many churches, including the Church of England and the Roman Catholic church, have chosen not to. Other religious groups such as the Quakers, Reformed Judaism and Unitarians agreed to marry gays and accordingly opted in.
The legislation also allows gays — who had previously entered into civil partnerships — to convert their licence to a legal marriage. The millionaire couple, Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, had entered into such a civil partnership in 2006. Rather than converting their licences, the gay couple believe it is their right to be married in a church and have launched a lawsuit.
There has been a growing conflict in England between the rights of Christians and rights of homosexuals. In a recent ruling, a judge stated religious rights are equal to homosexual rights and christians who have been on the losing end of many court battles need to have their rights protected.
- First couple consider legal challenge to Church’s gay marriage opt-out (telegraph.co.uk)
- Gay couple to sue church over gay marriage opt-out (christian.org.uk)