BRITAIN’S first gay surrogate parents have launched a legal challenge to the Church of England’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 44, who runs the Maldon-based British Surrogacy Centre with partner Tony, hoped to get married in his local church, St John the Baptist, in Danbury.

Practising Christian Mr Drewitt-Barlow said the new law did not offer what he had been campaigning for and he had now begun a legal challenge.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was given Royal Assent last month after winning cross-party support.

However, under the terms of the Act, religious organisations have to opt in to offer weddings.

The Church of England and the Church of Wales are not offering weddings.

Mr Drewitt-Barlow, who has been in a civil partnership since 2006, said: “We’ve launched a challenge to the Government’s decision to allow some religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples.

“We feel we have the right as parishioners in our village to utilise the church we attend to get married.”

“It is no reflection on our local church, who have been nothing but supportive towards us.

“We understand their hands are tied by a higher group of people within the church.”