The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is backing a legal challenge on behalf of two grandparents whose grandchildren are to be adopted by a gay couple.

None of the parties can be named for legal reasons.

The 59-year-old grandfather and 46-year-old grandmother were caring for the children, a five-year-old boy and an four-year-old girl.

The child’s mother, their daughter, is a recoving heroin addict. The children have different fathers.

Edinburgh social services decided it would be in the best interests of the children for them to be adopted and a gay couple was chosen.

The Scotsman reports that a “consortium of businessmen and professionals” is funding a legal challenge and the Roman Catholic Church is facilitating it.

The grandparents claim that they were told they were too old to adopt the children. They have denounced the idea of the children being raised by gay people, as has the mother.

Social services are legally unable to comment on the details of the case.

“As well as the moral issue there is also a legal question, which needs to be explored,” a church spokesperson told The Scotsman.

“Lawyers will be taking this forward with the family.

“Allowing two men to adopt children against the wishes of their grandparents who want to care for them is positively wicked.

“It is not surprising this case has caused outrage.”

The fact the children are to be adopted by a homosexual couple has led to attacks on gay adoption in some sections of the tabloid press.

Peter Hitchens, writing in the Mail on Sunday, was typical.

“If I never again had to read or write a word about homosexuals, I would be very happy. I really don’t want to know what other people do in their bedrooms.

“But these days they really, really want us all to know. And, more important, they insist that we approve.

“No longer are we allowed to keep our thoughts to ourselves, while being polite and kind.We are forced to say that we think homosexuality is a good thing, that homosexual couples are equal in all ways to heterosexual married couples.

“Most emphatically, we are compelled to agree that homosexual couples are just as good at bringing up children as the children’s own grandparents. Better, in fact.”

Last week gay equality organisation Stonewall said it was “deeply concerned” about the tone of much of the coverage.

“This is a reminder that just as we advance lesbian and gay equality, there are those who still seek to undermine it,” a spokesperson said.