The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has announced that it does not support a government that backs same-sex marriage, with church officials describing such unions as "shameful" and "cultural vandalism."
Top officials in the church have made outspoken attacks on the Scottish government, which has been debating whether same-sex marriage should be legalized.
Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia commented, "We don’t want marriage to be redefined to include same-sex," reports the BBC.
Tartaglia submitted the position to the Scottish government, saying, "Marriage is an institution which does not owe its existence or rationale to governments or legislatures."
Tartaglia’s statements follow those of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who said that legalizing same-sex marriage would "shame Scotland in the eyes of the world."
O'Brien is the most senior Scottish Catholic, and said permitting gay marriage would create a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."
The cardinal alleged that Scotland ministers were "disingenuous" and behaved with "staggering arrogance" over the issue of gay marriage.
Bishop Tartaglia said that the Catholic church would never acknowledge a same-sex union or celebrate such marriages, and added, "A government which favors and allows for same-sex marriage does wrong."
He continued, "Such a government does not deserve the trust which the nation, and including many in the Catholic community, has shown in it. It fails in its duty to society. It undermines the common good. It commits an act of cultural vandalism."
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie reported that six out of 10 people supported same-sex marriage in Scotland. Rennie said that he does not see how same-sex marriage could be "cultural vandalism," and said allowing gays and lesbians to marry would bring "greater equality into Scottish society."
"Under the changes, the Catholic church, nor anyone else, will not be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony, but if they wish to, the law will no longer stop them," said Rennie. "That's a very tolerant and fair approach to this issue."