John Barrowman has said he ‘has a problem’ with the rhetoric of the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien.

The Glasgow-born Torchwood star, who is in a civil partnership, told The Sun marriage was about “being respected and loved by other human beings”.

Though he formerly “didn’t like the word marriage for gays because of the organisation it represented”, he said, “vile rhetoric” had convinced him it was time to “take a stand”. Marriage, he said, was something he would now consider.

He said he would not attack faith in Scotland because “good, loving church people” in the country who “don’t care if you’re gay or not”.

He said it was the UK’s most senior Catholic, who has been fighting against gay marriage equality in Scotland since the government announced it would consult publicly on the issue, that he “has a problem with”.

Cardinal O’Brien has called the “madness” of marriage for gay couples a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”, and said if it were allowed, “further aberrations” would ensue and “society would be degenerating even further than it has already degenerated into immorality”.

Barrowman said today: “I’m giving my opinion but the people who believe in what O’Brien says will stand up and declare I’m wrong, bad and shouldn’t be allowed to.

“I’m not saying that all religious people are like O’Brien because I know great people who are Christian and know gay men and women are here for a purpose and are good people.

“But that specific person, and others, should not be allowed to speak as they do. And if they do, then I and others should be allowed to stand up and tell them they are ignorant bigots.”

Barrowman has spoken out against religious figures before.

When the Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia said equal marriage would cost the SNP government votes, Barrowman said: “That’s not being Christian at all. In fact, I think it’s evil. Being gay is not, as they claim, against the laws of nature. I was born this way. And there’s a reason I was born this way. I didn’t decide to wake up gay one morning.

“If two people love each other enough and want to call what they have a ‘marriage’, regardless of their sex, shouldn’t we let them do that? Otherwise, we’re in the Dark Ages again.”