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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 18:00 GMT


Legal landmark for gay dads

The men with their babies' Californian mother-to-be

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that a gay couple from Essex both have the right to be named as the parents of surrogate twins.

Previously, only the biological father and surrogate mother have been named on the birth certificate.

BBC News' Alison Holt reports on the controversial decision
But the ruling sought by millionaire businessmen Barry Drewitt and Tony Barlow from Chelmsford means they can both be "official" parents.

The pair have spent £200,000 arranging a surrogate birth to an American mother.

Rosalind Bellamy, 32, had the embryos of another woman and the sperm of one of the men placed in her uterus and is now expecting twins.

The children are due to be born in December in the US.

Mr Drewitt's mother, Veronica, from Manchester said she was "over the moon".

"I don't think the lack of a mother in the household matters very much," she said.

Ruling welcomed

The original birth certificates, which are legally binding in the UK, will now bear the names of both men - including the non-biological parent.

Mr Drewitt said he was "delighted" at the news.

The ruling has also been welcomed by the lesbian and gay lobbying group, Stonewall, which it hopes will encourage courts in the UK to take the same approach.

Mark Watson, of Stonewall, said: "It must be best for the child if two people are bringing up and involved in the parenting of that child that both of them have legal responsibility for that child."

Essex Social Services, which turned the men down for adoption, refused to comment on the matter.

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