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Retired priest, 78, marries same-sex partner, 24, in a stand against Church of England's anti-gay stance

2017-04-26
A former priest has married his same-sex partner in defiance of the Church of England's anti-gay stance.
Philip Clements, 78, married a Romanian male model, Florin Marin, 24,  on Tuesday in a private ceremony in Ramsgate, Kent. "I've taken up many weddings, and I've almost gave up hope thinking I would be part of my own," said the priest after tying the knot with his partner. "I never thought it would happen at my age. I've been a long time looking for you, Florin. And then I found you. "Where have you been the last 78 years? Mostly non-existent," he joked. The happy couple, who have a 54 year age gap,  met on a dating website, but Phillip had kept his sexuality a secret from the community up until now. To make a big statement, they invited their local newspaper to the wedding show the church that LGBT+ priests should be allowed to marry. "As a priest, I want the church to think seriously about this issue and to change its teaching and rules to allow clergy as well as lay members of the church to marry someone of the same gender if that is how they feel. "I think a lot of clergy must be with partners, or wanting to be with them, but they are stopped from being themselves by the rules of the church. He then added: "They mean well, they are good Christians. But they do not understand this aspect of human nature." More stories: Husband of gay police officer killed in Paris attack delivers heartbreaking eulogy US baseball player comes out live on TV – and doesn’t get the reaction he expects