The leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics has attacked modern Britain for allowing gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt children.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said that equal rights were a sign of a “deeply hedonistic society” and complained that morals were being trumped by freedom of choice and lifestyle.

Writing in The Scotsman, the Cardinal called on the Prime Minister and the Tory party leader to allow the two Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies in Scotland to continue to turn away gay couples.

“Political leaders … have praised Catholic agencies for their work abroad. We ask now that they allow us to carry on our equally valuable work at home,” he wrote.

The church in Scotland has been vocal in its opposition to gay adoption, with the Archbishop of Glasgow threatening to defy the law and compel the government to forcibly close Catholic adoption agencies.

The church has lobbied MSPs in the Scottish Parliament in an attempt to secure an opt-out from the new Sexual Orientation Regulations, due to become law across Britain in April.

The regulations outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when accessing goods and services.

Last week the Prime Minister announced that there would be no exemption for church-run adoption agencies from the SOR.

Mr Blair did grant the agencies a grace period until the end of 2008 to adapt to the new gay rights laws.

Yesterday he told a committee of senior MPs that Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies can find a way through the row over gay adoption.

Speaking to the Commons liaison committee, Mr Blair said he hoped that the religious agencies would form “consortiums” with secular agencies to provide a “gateway” for all potential adoptive parents to access adoption services.

Catholic leaders in Scotland are hoping the influx of Polish migrants to the country will affect the outcome of the upcoming elections for the country’s parliament.

Around 40,000 immigrants are now working in Scotland, 90% of them Poles, who are in turn almost all practising Catholics.

The elections for the 129-member parliament take place on May 3rd.

The contest will see a tight race between Labour, who have been in power since 1999, and the Scottish National Party.

If the SNP win a majority of MSPs, they are committed to holding a referendum on Scottish independence before 2011.

The Roman Catholic Church is urging Poles to vote “with their conscience,” a thinly veiled reference to their objection to a range of measures introduced by the ruling Labour executive in Edinburgh, from gay adoption to civil partnerships.