The Right Rev. Justin Welby, bishop of Durham, was named the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. Photo courtesy of Durham Cathedral

Church of England paves the way for women bishops

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The agreement to allow women bishops would end nearly two decades of bitter conflict, and represents a victory for the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who was appointed last year just as a similar measure was defeated by just six votes.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 42, and his partner, Tony, 49 -- millionaires who run a surrogacy company in Britain and the U.S. -- have been a high-profile couple since 1999 when they became the first gay couple to be named on the birth certificate of their child. Photo courtesy Drewitt-Barlow family

Gay couple may sue Church of England to wed in church

(RNS) While planning for a sixth child, a high-profile British couple told the Daily Mail (Aug. 2) they plan to sue the Church of England to get married there. The new law, signed by the queen, stipulates that no religious denomination will be forced to carry out such services.

Queen Elizabeth II greets employees on her walk from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center mission control to a reception in the center’s main auditorium in Greenbelt, Maryland where she was presented with a framed Hubble image by Congressman Steny Hoyer and Senator Barbara Mikulski on May 8, 2007.

Queen approves same-sex marriage bill in England, Wales

(RNS) Under the new law, gay men and women will be able to join together in civil ceremonies or in church services — although no religious denomination will be forced to carry out such services. Neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Church of England will perform such marriages.