A leading Rabbi has said that those who oppose marriage equality on religious grounds are taking a ‘pick and mix’ approach to the scriptures, and might as well support stoning children or slavery.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, the minister of Maidenhead Synagogue and known for his pro-gay stance, said that Judaeo-Christian opposition to same-sex relationships, based on the Old Testament, constitutes double-standards, if applied only for equal marriage.

He made his comments during an open debate in London, co-hosted by the anti-equality group Catholic Voices, and the pro-equality British Humanist Association.

Those who adhere to Old Testament’s apparent description of homosexuality as an ‘abomination’ cannot read it literally unless they were prepared to adhere to some of its obscurer traditions concerning food, say, or circumcision. “No Christian or secularist can quote those passages – or certainly not with any credibility,” he said.

“For if they do suddenly start getting pious about verses in the Bible,” he continued, ‘by which I mean the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, then they can only do so if they adhere to other verses in it such as circumcising all your male children, as it also commands; abstaining from pork or prawns, as it also commands; not wearing garments in which wool and linen is mixed, as it also commands.”

He added: “If you don’t keep up these, but do object to homosexuality, then you are just doing a pick and mix job, and are driven not by religious beliefs but by [homophobic] prejudice… If you take this approach to scripture you should also not object to stoning rebellious children or nailing your slave’s ear to the door post.”

Dr Romain also opposed those who claimed equal marriage would undermine the institution, and that it was motivated more by elitism than by equality, saying these were unrealistic and needlessly apocalyptic scenarios.

Two weeks remain before the public consultation on equal marriage in England and Wales draws to a close.