Desmond Tutu ‘saddened’ to see his daughter kicked out Church for marrying a woman

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Desmond Tutu’s daughter has spoken out – after she was kicked out of the Church her father used to lead for marrying her partner.

The renowned Archbishop’s daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, had sought to follow in his footsteps – and was ordained as a minister in 2004.

However Mrs Tutu van Furth, who says she identifies as bisexual, was forced to surrender her license to officiate last month after tying the knot with long-term partner Marceline Furth.

The former priest told the BBC that both she and her father were devastated by the decision.

She said: “I knew when I married Marceline that there was a chance that I would have to give up my license.

“It was incredibly sad for me. A few years ago I celebrated the Eucharist with my father and so to now be in a position where I can’t serve at the altar with him… I was surprised by how much it hurt.

“It has saddened [my father] as well, to find this is where the Church is now. Of course… he’s a father, and I’m his child.”

Mrs Tutu van Furth said a part of her had been stripped away, saying: “It’s the anguish. The choice was I could be a priest or I could be with the person I love. I don’t get to have both.

“Always choose love. Always choose love.”

“The reality is that not only do we have gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people of every description sitting in our pews. To be perfectly honest, we have all those people standing in our pulpits as well.

“Very often they sit in fear in the pews, and they stand in fear in the pulpits, because they’re not free to fully own who they are and who they love.”

Though South Africa has recognised same-sex unions for a decade, the Church affirms that “Holy matrimony is the lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman”.

African Anglicans were influential in a recent gay rights rift in the global Anglican Communion –  with Archbishop Justin Welby agreeing to ‘punish’ the US Episcopal Church for embracing gay unions.

The US Episcopal Church was blocked from Anglican decision-making bodies after the African churches threatened to walk out.

Archbishop Tutu, 84, has previously compared anti-gay laws to the Apartheid discrimination in South Africa which he fought to bring to an end.

He said: “I am absolutely, utterly and completely certain that God wouldn’t be homophobic. I really would much rather go to hell than go to a homophobic heaven.”

He dismissed claims that the Bible can be used to attack homosexuality, saying: “The Bible says quite a lot of things, many of which I do not accept at all. The Bible is… the word of God, but it is the word of God through the words of human beings.”

He continued: “God sits there and weeps, because God is saying, ‘Do you know what? You’re all my children. You’re all members of one family, my family. And, when are you going to learn to live amicably together?’”