Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter quits priesthood after marrying a woman

Desmond Tutu, retired South African Anglican archbishop, and his daughter Mpho Tutu talk about their book “Forlatelse,” or “The Book of Forgiving,” at a book fair in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Sept. 26, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TUTU-DAUGHTER, originally transmitted on May 24, 2016.

(RNS) The daughter of Nobel laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa has given up her clergy credentials after marrying a Dutch woman.

The Rev. Mpho Tutu told the local media that since her church did not recognize her wedding, she could no longer serve in the country.

Mpho Tutu said the church had instructed a bishop to revoke her license, which granted her the authority to preside at Communion, officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals.

“I decided I would give it up to him rather than have him take it, a slightly more dignified option with the same effect,” the City Press quoted her as saying in an online news story.

Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, attended their daughter’s wedding to academic Marceline Van Furth in Franschoek, near Cape Town. The two first married in the Netherlands, Van Furth’s home country, in December.

Although South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006, the Anglican Church maintains that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman.

In February, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba announced the church would consider new pastoral guidelines for same–sex marriage. Debate over sex-marriage has divided the worldwide Anglican Communion and the South African church will discuss the issue later this year.

Both Tutu and her wife have been married before and have children.

Van Furth is a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre in Amsterdam and was designated as a “Desmond Tutu professor” when she was appointed in 2009. Mpho Tutu is the executive director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town.

(Fredrick Nzwili is an RNS correspondent based in Kenya)

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