A Hollywood film director has left the Church of Scientology, citing the religion’s opposition to gay marriage.

Paul Haggis, who directed the 2005 film Crash, was a member of the church for around 35 years.

His resignation letter to spokesman Tommy Davies was leaked to the media.

In it, he attacked the church for supporting Proposition 8, the initiative that banned gay marriage in California last year. The San Diego branch of the religion had supported the move and made a number of homophobic statements.

“I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions,” he wrote. “You promised action. Ten months passed. No action.”

He continued: “The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.”

Haggis added that he could no longer remain part “of an organisation where gay-bashing was tolerated”.

The Church of Scientology is known for its anti-gay stance and has been accused of trying to turn gay people straight.

L Ron Hubbard, the religion’s founder, wrote that gay people are “perverts”, “quite physically ill,” and “extremely dangerous to society.”

Scientologists claim that he later changed his view on the issue of homosexuality.