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Church of England bans Desmond Tutu's daughter from leading funeral due to same-sex marriage rule

by Premier Journalist

The daughter of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been barred from leading a funeral due to the Church of England's rule not allowing clergy to be in a same-sex marriage.

Mpho Tutu van Furth, who's an Anglican priest in the US, planned to officiate her godfather's funeral service in Shropshire, but was told she can't because she has a wife. 

The Diocese of Hereford told BBC News in a statement it was "a difficult situation" as the Anglican Church in the US, The Episcopal Church, does allow clergy to have same-sex marriages.

The family of her late godfather, Martin Kenyon, ended up moving the funeral service from St Michael and All Angels in Wentnor, to a marquee in the vicarage next door so Ms Tutu van Furth could officiate the service. 

She reportedly told BBC News: "It's incredibly sad. It feels like a bureaucratic response with maybe a lack of compassion.

"It seemed really churlish and hurtful. But as sad as that was, there was the joy of having a celebration of a person who could throw open the door to people who are sometimes excluded."

Ms Tutu van Furth was ordered to give up her rights as a priest in South Africa when she married Marceline van Furth in 2015.

Her father, the famous South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, won the Nobel peace prize in 1984 for his fight against apartheid in South Africa. He also campaigned in favour of same-sex marriage. 

He died last December. 

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