Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter has been forced out of the South African Anglican Church because she married a woman.
The renowned Archbishop’s daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu van Furth, had sought to follow in his footsteps – and was ordained as a minister in 2004.
Ms Tutu, who has campaigned against homophobia and racism all her adult life, tied the knot with long-term partner Marceline Furth earlier this year.
But Tutu has been forced out of the church her father famously used to head – after her license to preach was revoked by the Anglican Church.
She told the South African press: “Because the South African Anglican Church does not recognise our marriage, I can no longer exercise my priestly ministry in South Africa.”
She explained that Diocese head Bishop Raphael Hess had been instructed to revoke her license, adding: “I decided that I would give it to him rather than have him take it, a slightly more dignified option with the same effect.”
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?’”