A controversial Sydney reverend has called for an apology to the gay community from churches who campaigned against marriage equality.

As the marriage equality survey came to a close yesterday, Reverend Dr Keith Mascord reflected on the campaign in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald.

He wrote that he was “dismayed” by churches being “callous and un-Christ-like” in supporting a long campaign against equality, “which they surely knew was certain to cause widespread distress and suffering to some of Australia’s most vulnerable citizens.”

“As a deeply committed older Christian, I’ve been dismayed by the contributions of Australian churches to the acrimonious and damaging debate… particularly by those who have joined the Coalition for Marriage,” he wrote.

“They wagered on the lives of people the church should have been protecting, when it was already a sure bet that their actions would embolden Australia’s bigots and hateful homophobes, which they have.”

Rev Mascord called out the No campaign for “scaremongering” and dishonesty.

“The campaign is dishonest in trying to scare people into thinking that society will unravel if marriage is extended to include LGBTI+ Australians,” he wrote.

He called the No campaign’s slippery-slope arguments “cherry-picked and easily discredited examples from overseas” that “mostly amount to fundamentalist Christians resisting scientific and societal consensus, doggedly insisting on their right to discriminate and exclude”.

Rev Mascord called on Christians to apologise to the LGBTI community for the damage done during the marriage survey period.

“Christians have come to realise, as never before, how urgent is our need to say sorry, and to embark on what will be a long and painful process of reconciliation,” he wrote.

Rev Mascord has been a controversial figure in the Anglican church because of his progressive views.

He was let go from the church last year over theological differences, particularly his support for marriage equality.

Rev Mascord invited Christians to add their name to a national apology and commitment to reconciliation to the LGBTI community.

Almost 1000 people from various churches all over Australia have already added their names to the apology.

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