Desmond Tutu’s daughter, Reverend Canon
Mpho Tutu-van Furth has been forced to give up
her duties as a priest in South Africa’s Anglican
church after she married a woman, she told AFP
Mpho can no longer preside at holy communion,
weddings, baptisms or funerals after handing in
her licence because the church does not
recognise gay marriage. She said her father, the
retired archbishop and celebrated anti-apartheid
campaigner, was “sad but not surprised” at the
“The canon (law) of the South African Church
states that marriage is between one man and
one woman,” Tutu-van Furth said in an email.
“After my marriage… the Bishop of Saldanha
Bay was advised that he must revoke my
licence. I offered to return my licence rather
than require that he take it from me.”
Mpho and Marceline Tutu-van Furth have been
on honeymoon on the Indonesian island of Bali
after holding a wedding party outside Cape
Town earlier this month.
Desmond Tutu, 84, who has been in frail health,
attended the celebrations with his wife. He has
previously spoken out in favour of gay marriage.
Marceline Tutu-van Furth is an Amsterdam-
based professor specialising in paediatric
infections. The couple — who are both divorced
and have children — officially tied the knot in
the Netherlands in December.
“My wife and I meet across almost every
dimension of difference. Some of our differences
are obvious; she is tall and white, I am black
and vertically challenged,” Mpho told the South
African City Press newspaper. “Ironically, coming
from a past where difference was the instrument
of division, it is our sameness that is now the
cause of distress,” she said in a reference to
Senior local priest Bruce Jenneker told AFP that
the Saldanha diocese had received Mpho’s
licence with “sadness”.
“It was a great pity that it had to happen,” he