Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland has described the government's plans for gay marriage as 'madness' and a 'grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.'
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, O'Brien says: 'Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society
which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.'
He then accuses Prime Minister David Cameron and other ministers of trying to 'redefine reality', saying that if Britain does allow gay marriage in churches it will 'shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world.'
O'Brien adds: 'All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father; the evidence in favour of the stability and well-being which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal. It cannot be provided by a same-sex couple, however well-intentioned they may be.'
He continues to then ask readers to consider signing a petition in support of traditional marriage set up by the Coalition for Marriage organisation.
O'Brien joins a list of high ranking religious officials who have voiced their concerns over the implications of legalising gay marriage in Britain. In January the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu heavily criticised David Cameron, saying that ministers should not overrule tradition by allowing same-sex marriage in Britain.