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Six-week-old twins born to a British gay couple through a surrogate mother in the United States have been allowed to live with their new parents in Britain, the Home Office said Tuesday.

The twins, a boy and a girl, were flown to London with their gay parents, Tony Barlow, 35, and Barrie Drewitt, 30, at the end of last month. But as American citizens, they were granted only temporary permission to stay.

A spokesman for the Home Office said the children's welfare was a determining factor in Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to let them stay.

"(Straw) was in no doubt that it was not in the children's interest to be re-turned to the United States, so that's why we've made this decision," the spokesman said.

The two men -- one of whom fathered the child -- have now changed their names to Mr. and Mr. Drewitt-Barlow.

"However, the U.K. law remains unchanged and still does not recognize Messrs. Drewitt-Barlow as the legal parents," the spokesman said.

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