The Rev. Mpho Tutu, daughter of Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Capetown, married her longtime lesbian lover Marceline van Furth in a small private ceremony last Wednesday.
Tutu, who was previously married to Joseph Burris and has two children, is herself an ordained Episcopal priest and also the executive director and founder of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage.
Last May, Rev. Tutu was accused of “hijacking” the Desmond Tutu Peace Trust, which had to be shut down to avoid humiliating the retired archbishop, according to reports.
“We decided to just wind up the organization without embarrassing the archbishop,” said Saki Macozoma, a member of the board of the trust. “I really don’t want to talk about that woman’s behavior.”
Furth is a South African HIV/AIDS activist, who campaigns against poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. She teaches at the Vrije University in Amsterdam in the area of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
Retired Archbishop Tutu has been an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage and has called the oppression of gay people around the world the “new Apartheid.”
In 2013, Tutu famously said he would never worship a “homophobic God” and will rather go to hell. At the time, his daughter’s lesbianism was not publicly known.
“I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,” Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town.
“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he said.
“I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level,” he added.
The couple is planning a larger public marriage ceremony for May.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome