27 Aug 2012

Church campaign against gay marriage stepped up

1:13 pm on 27 August 2012

The Catholic Church in Scotland has stepped up a campaign against same sex marriage.

A letter from bishops was read by priests at services on Sunday urging churchgoers to join efforts to resist plans by the Scottish government to introduce gay marriage.

The BBC reports the letter criticised the government for trying to change the only legitimate definition of marriage - the lifelong union of a man and a woman.

It also announced the launch of a National Commission for Marriage and the Family to co-ordinate a campaign against gay marriage.

Last week, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Church in Scotland, broke off personal discussions on the issue with First Minister Alex Salmond.

The Church has declared 26 August as National Marriage Sunday.

In March, Cardinal O'Brien described gay marriage as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".

The government has pledged to bring forward a bill on the issue later this year. It has indicated the earliest ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015.