The Catholic Church in Scotland has responded to news that the government will proceed with equal marriage legislation by saying marriage rights are not a ‘helpful’ response to gay feelings.

The Scottish government announced this morning it intends to bring forward legislation which would allow gay couples to marry on religious premises as long as the faith and celebrant do not object.

The Church has been the main opponent of marriage equality in Scotland from initial discussions through to final cabinet deliberations. Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been outspoken in his disagreement with the government, calling the idea a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

The new Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia, who recently suggested the premature death of MP David Cairns was linked to his homosexuality, has warned the Scottish government of a “serious chill” in the Catholic Church’s relationship with Alex Salmond’s SNP government.

Reacting to the news today, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “The Scottish Government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale.However, the church looks much further than the short-term electoral time-scales of politicians.

“We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships.

“However, in the short term and long term the Church does not see same-sex marriage as an appropriate and helpful response to same-sex attraction.”