Originally published on Advocate.com January 07 2004 12:00 AM ET
A gay couple from Cheshire, England, who made legal history when they were named as joint parents of test-tube babies, have revealed that they had to flee the country because of death threats, the Manchester News reports. Multimillionaire Barrie Barlow and Tony Drewitt, who became Britain's first openly gay surrogate fathers four years ago, left their home in Macclesfield for a palatial villa in Spain, where they say the attitude is more tolerant of gay couples. Nothing, they say, had prepared them for the level of hatred that followed the birth of their test-tube twin babies, Aspen and Saffron. They received more than 25 death threats and menacing letters promising, among other things, that their limbs would be torn off one by one. Drewitt, 39, and Barlow, 35, have since added a third child, 5-month-old Orlando, to their family and are planning a fourth after a church blessing later this year.
The pair will appear on a two-part Channel 4 TV documentary, Making Babies: The Gay Way, starting on January 22. They are now enjoying a quiet life in their luxurious six-bedroom hacienda in Alicante, but they are so concerned for their children's safety that they have paid for security gates at Aspen and Saffron's school and hired full-time British bodyguards--one armed--to watch over them.
Barlow, who became a multimillionaire when he and Drewitt sold their clinical research company and retired on the proceeds, said, "It's scary. We received 25 threats in England.... [One letter] threatened to break our legs and take our kids off us so they can grow up with a straight couple."