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Tue. Oct 4th, 2022
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LONDON: The Church of England on Friday confirmed it had barred the daughter of Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu from conducting a funeral service because she is married to a woman.
Mpho Tutu van Furth is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States, which allows same-sex marriage.
But the Church of England does not allow its priests to enter into same-sex marriages, saying it goes against its teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
Same-sex marriages became legal in England in 2013.
Tutu van Furth told the BBC that she had been asked to officiate at the funeral of her godfather Martin Kenyon, who had wanted her to take on the role.
But the local Church of England diocese vetoed this and Kenyon’s family moved the funeral from a church to a tent to allow Tutu van Furth to officiate.
“It seemed really churlish and hurtful,” she was quoted as telling the broadcaster.
The Diocese of Hereford told AFP in a statement: “We acknowledge this is a difficult situation. Advice was given in line with the House of Bishops current guidance on same-sex marriage.”
Tutu van Furth had previously in 2016 lost her licence to preside at holy communion, weddings, baptisms or funerals in South Africa after she married Marceline Tutu van Furth, an Amsterdam-based professor specialising in paediatric infections.
Her father, who died last year, was the former archbishop of Cape Town and hero of the anti-apartheid struggle who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Tutu also confronted the Anglican Church over its stance on gay rights, saying in 2013: “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

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