Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki denies homophobia

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says he's "not homophobic at all" following a charity's decision to turn its back on a church-led anti-domestic violence march.

White Ribbon says the We Stand Because We Care community event appeared to have been "taken over" by church group Man Up New Zealand, and Mr Tamaki's "homophobic remarks" don't fit in with White Ribbon's kaupapa.

"It's a bit sad," Mr Tamaki told Newshub following the event in Auckland on Saturday.

"We're both standing for the same thing and we were always going to be here. But that's their choice so it's fine.

"I have beliefs and opinions and I hold those strongly as a minister. But we've never been homophobic or hated anyone of a different sexual orientation.

"We're all inclusive."

During a 2016 sermon Mr Tamaki claimed gays and lesbians were the cause of the Kaikoura earthquake.

"No other sin in the whole of the bible has any connection to earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, but sexual perversions alone," he later said in a statement.

White Ribbon campaign manager Rob McCann told Newshub the organisation initially thought the event was organised by the community.

"They're using the White Ribbon name for purposes we don't approve of."

Crowds of motorcycles and pedestrians took part in the march down Queen St, with the event's Facebook page expressing hopes of bringing the community together "regardless of our background or belief system".

Mr Tamaki says it's actually his church that is discriminated against.

"White Ribbon were with us, and I know [they] want to take the issue up, and they pull out at the last minute because they want me to disappear.

"I have been so marginalised. We've been so left out, hated, discriminated against.

"Then every other organisation gets a fright when they hear the name Destiny Church or Brian Tamaki.

"And yet, dear God, I don't smoke dope; I don't sell meth; I haven't drank alcohol since I was 21. I'm not a criminal - in fact quite the opposite.

"All that we do is self-funded. And yet we are still ostracised from everything that happens in society."

Mr Tamaki says the peaceful march highlighted more than just domestic violence, because it's not New Zealand's only issue.

"I think it's best to highlight all the problems in society, and we have some real difficulties with suicide, with prion numbers, with drug and alcohol abuse - it goes on and on.

"So I think it was a needed stand, all inclusive."

He had a message for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, too: "We want to work with the Government.

"We don't want to be pushed aside."


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