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Richard Coles confesses he lied to the Church about sex life

by Heather Preston

Celebrity vicar and Strictly Come Dancing star Richard Coles has admitted to deceiving Church of England officials regarding his sexual relationship with his late husband, David Oldham.

The broadcaster resigned as a parish priest in 2022, citing the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage.

According to Church of England law, priests can enter into a civil partnership but are obligated to practice celibacy.

Until recently, Coles claimed that he and his partner had maintained celibacy throughout their civil partnership, which spanned from 2010 until Oldham’s death due to alcoholism in 2019.

Speaking to The Times on Monday, Coles acknowledged that he had previously lied about the pair’s sex life to safeguard their positions within the church.

Coles remarked that at times he felt as though he was “in the resistance” while the Church played the role of “the Gestapo.”

“I’m overstating it, but what I did feel is that they had no moral cause, so I didn’t feel that I had a moral obligation at all.

“And I’m not the first person to find themselves obliged to lie for institutional reasons in the Church of England,” he added.

Coles retired as the vicar of Finedon, North Northamptonshire, in 2022.

In 2023, he revealed that he had previously violated Church rules by having his same-sex partnership blessed inside the church. Following this admission, Coles faced criticism for defying his priestly vows to uphold church doctrine.

Church of England ministers cannot currently perform same-sex marriages, but they are in the process of determining a way forward on matters of identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage, after the Church’s national assembly voted to allow clergy to bless same-sex unions in 2023.

It was announced in December that same-sex couples would be able to request a dedicated ceremony of blessing in the Church of England via a trial process.

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