UK: Elderly Anglican Priest Defends Marriage to 25-Year-Old Romanian Male Model

A 79-year-old gay Anglican priest in the U.K. has defended his marriage to a 25-year-old male model from Romania, insisting he is not “a dirty old man” but just wants “to show people we are normal.”

Appearing Thursday on “The Jeremy Kyle Show” with husband Florin Marin, the Rev. Philip Clements, a retired rector and boarding school chaplain, said he is not being taken advantage of despite buying Marin a house in Romania and letting him see other men.

The now retired vicar, who married Marin last year after meeting him on Gaydar two years earlier, said that the younger man was not a gold-digger, adding that their rocky relationship was “not quite as simple” as the media had made it out to be.

The couple faced criticism after it was revealed that Rev. Clements had sold his £215,000 home in Sandwich, Kent, to buy an apartment in Bucharest, where Mr. Marin is originally from. Clements was reportedly left penniless when the couple split up five months into their marriage.

“I bought a beautiful new flat in Bucharest. We were living there and we had married by that time,” Clements said.

“That’s where I was going to settle. I’d put the house in his name so he’d feel secure when I die – because you’ve got to think about those sorts of things when you get to my age,” he said.

“But we had a bit of a tiff, as most relationships do, based on the fact that he was asleep at two o’clock in the afternoon having come in at five o’clock in the morning because he likes clubbing,” he continued, adding that the couple’s split was not based on financial motives but on personal differences.

“He said I was too old to go to a club. It was like I was Cinderella, I was left at home.  I woke him up and he was very cross; he started punching my leg a bit,” Clements said.

Host Jeremy Kyle asked Clements whether he felt that Marin was making a fool of him since they stopped living together so soon after their marriage.

“Being made a fool of can be very nice, especially if it’s a very young man making a fool of you,” the vicar replied.

He also revealed that he and his younger husband have had “moments of physical relationship,” but admitted that due to his age, he is limited in that regard, adding that he and Marin “have an arrangement.”

“I’ve said to Florin that if he has any relationships he should tell me, but I’m not going to be angry about it.”

Marin himself joined the show, saying, “I love this man.” He denied being a gold digger taking advantage of the elderly vicar for money.

“They don’t know me, they don’t know us,” he said of critics.

Both men said that although they are not currently living together, they look forward to being together on a more stable basis in the future.

Officially, the Church of England teaches that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, while some regional Anglican bodies, such as the Scottish Episcopal Church, have endorsed gay marriage. In 2015, the U.S. Episcopal Church voted to officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies in church.

Some conservatives Anglican bodies, such as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), have resisted the move toward accepting same-sex marriage.

Last week, over 2,000 Anglicans gathered in Jerusalem for a GAFCON networking event, seeking new ways to “move Gospel ministry forward” at a time when the global Anglican Communion is perceived as “theologically confused” on issues such as same-sex marriage.

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