A Nationalist MSP has been accused of trying to attack gay rights by tabling a motion which says no one should be “forced to be involved in” gay marriages.

SNP MSP John Mason tabled the motion ahead of a Scottish government consultation on gay marriage.

His motion reads: “While some in society approve of same-sex sexual relationships, others do not agree with them … No person or organisation should be forced to be involved in or to approve of same-sex marriages.”

Other MSPs criticised him and accused him of misunderstanding or trying to confuse the issue.

Deputy Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont told the Scotsman Mr Mason’s views were “bizarre” and said the debate was about religious freedom, rather than “forcing” people to do anything.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie added: “John Mason’s attitudes to equal rights seem stuck in the dark ages.”

In response to the motion, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie submitted an amendment calling for marriage equality and praising the new SNP government for announcing a consultation on the issue.

This week, the Scottish youth parliament launched a campaign for marriage equality.

The Love Equally campaign is seeking full marriage equality and also calls for straight people to be given the right to have civil partnerships.

In England and Wales, the UK government has announced plans to hold a consultation on the future of civil partnerships and marriage. As these are devolved issues, the consultation does not apply to Scotland.

However, polls of the Scottish public have shown rising support for allowing gay couples to marry. In 2006, a poll found that 53 per cent of people supported same-sex marriage. In 2009, this figure rose to 62 per cent.