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Brian Tamaki's apology to the LGBTQ community - genuine or cynical?

Newshub logoNewshub 1/06/2019 Dan Satherley, Jared McCulloch
a close up of Brian Tamaki wearing sunglasses: Watch: Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki blames earthquake on gays. © Video - Newshub; Image - Getty Watch: Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki blames earthquake on gays.

LGBTQ community leaders are sceptical Destiny Church has changed its tune on homosexuality.

Leader Brian Tamaki has reportedly apologised to "anyone that has been hurt" by his previous statements, which include blaming gay people for earthquakes and supporting homophobic rugby star Israel Folau - the latter as recently as last month, using the hashtag #crybabygays. 

Destiny held a conference at its south Auckland complex last night aimed at forging a new relationship with the LGBTQ people.

"I want to personally say to anyone in your community that has been hurt... I want to say sorry," he told attendees, NZME reported.

"If in the past I have made you feel [ridicued], then I hope that this is something that we can begin to rectify."

Tamaki also reportedly expressed regret for how he and his church behaved in the early 2000s, when they vocally led the opposition to same-sex civil unions, and said he no longer believed homosexuality caused earthquakes.

He said there would be "no more social media comments from this church" about LGBTQ people, but reportedly added that his own personal beliefs had not changed.

Craig Watson from Diverse Church says it is just spin.

"This is something to bring their political party in more alignment with New Zealand and our culture here," he told Newshub.

The church recently started a political party, led by Tamaki's wife Hannah, called Coalition NZ.

"They've woken up one morning and gone, 'The way we've historically treated gay people is not right, we need to change our tune on that...' I personally don't think that's what's happened," said Watson.

"If Brian and Hananh do want to find a way forward with the LGBT community, they'll start with an apology... and then we move forward together."

But he's not convinced the church's latest overtures are genuine.

But Jevan Goulter, a gay man closely involved in the church and Coalition NZ, told NZME Saturday night's event was planned before the party launch.

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