The Church of Scotland has rejected proposals to legalise marriage for gay men and lesbians, claiming the Scottish government's proposals undermine society and the meaning of marriage.
The church, the most influential within Scotland, has added its weight to a growing backlash against same-sex marriage by religious groups. It claimed that allowing gay marriages contradicted the fundamental and historical basis of the institution.
Its intervention is a further blow to Alex Salmond's government, and follows the launch on Wednesday outside the Scottish parliament of a new multi-faith campaign against the reform called Scotland for Marriage led by Scotland's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, and a senior Church of Scotland figure, Ann Allen.
The Catholic church, many senior Muslim figures and evangelical churches have now formally opposed the proposal, while a grouping of smaller churches, including liberal Jewish groups, Quakers, the Pagan Federation and Unitarians, have supported the measure.