Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire
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Strictly vicar backs plan for same-sex dance partners

Mon 11 Sep 2017
By Press Association

Strictly contestant the Rev Richard Coles has said it makes "no sense" that anyone would resist having same-sex couples taking to the dance floor in the hit BBC show.

Coles, who was one half of the 1980s band the Communards, is in a civil partnership with his same sex partner and is among the 15 contestants taking part in this year's edition of Strictly Come Dancing, which started on Saturday.

He has been paired up with Dianne Buswell on the contest, but told Digital Spy he had "a discussion" with bosses on the show about having same-sex couples taking part.

Matt Crossick/PA Wire
Reverend Richard Coles and Gemma Atkinson at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2017 at Broadcasting House in London

 

Coles was speaking after fellow contestant Susan Calman, who is a lesbian, had been criticised on social media for not having a female professional partner.

He told the website: "We've had a discussion about it, actually, and I don't know. It makes absolutely no sense that anybody resists the idea, in principle.

"It's just a question of doing it. I think this year would be a good year to do it actually, with the 50th anniversary of sexual offences act (which decriminalised sex between two men aged more than 21)."

Matt Crossick/PA Wire
Reverend Richard Coles and Charlotte Hawkins at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2017 at Broadcasting House in London.

 

The BBC was quoted in the Sunday Telegraph saying they had no plans to introduce same-sex couples into the competition at the moment.

Comedian Calman said she had considered dancing with a woman, but later changed her mind.

She said: "I did think about dancing with a woman, but from the very first moment when I was asked about the show I said I wanted to dance with a man."

Speaking about comments made on social media, she said: "People can criticise me all they want, but I've worked tirelessly for LGBT equality my whole life and right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night.

"Dancing's not necessarily about sex; it's acting. When I do a sexy tango with my partner I'll be acting and, fundamentally, I've watched the show for years and I want to learn how to dance."

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