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Former Eastry clergyman Philip Clements to wed male model, 24

By Mercury reporter

The fiance of a gay vicar has vowed to defend his groom as they get married today following a “cruel” comparison to Judas Iscariot.

Romanian male model Florin Marin, 24, will give a speech after he weds former Eastry clergyman Philip Clements, 78.

The former reverend, recently of Swaynes Way, Eastry, made headlines after asking the Church of England to review its stance on gay marriage.

Retired Clergyman Philip Clements with his partner Florin Marin

Retired Clergyman Philip Clements with his partner Florin Marin

It also highlighted his engagement to a Mr Marin, 54 years his junior.

The wedding prompted critic Reg Scarborough of Delfside, Sandwich, to write a letter to the editor of our sister paper The East Kent Mercury.

In it he made the Easter comparison and questioned Mr Clements’ faith and understanding of it.

He also said church ceremonies are for committed Christians and not “some unholy parody”.

At the time Mr Clements labelled it “over the top” and said: “Judas did a terrible thing. I’ve never betrayed Jesus and I would never encourage people to do that.”

Later once the Mercury hit the shelves, Mr Marin said he would hit back at Mr Scarborough by giving a public speech outside the council-owned wedding venue after the service.

He described the comments as “cruel and hurtful to Mr Clements” and suggested Mr Scarborough has a verbal battle ahead of him.

Rev Philip Clements retired in 1999

Rev Philip Clements retired in 1999

“If he wants to fight, then I’ll fight – through the pages of the newspapers.”

The pair will wed in Kent before embarking on married life in Romania. They have already left for the country and are flying back for the service.

Same sex marriage is illegal in Romania, but being gay is not.

Mr Marin said he is surprised at Mr Scarborough’s comments and compared opinions in the two countries: “This is England, not Romania,” he said.

The pair have been together for two years after the retired vicar decided to explore his repressed sexuality.

Despite the Church’s stance on the subject, Mr Clements has received an overwhelmingly positive response to his decision to live his final years happily as a gay married man.

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