The director of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) has attacked government proposals to legalise same-sex marriage at a conference in Blackpool.

According to the BBC, around 150 people attended SPUC North West’s regional meeting, earlier this week.

John Smeaton, director of the society which opposes abortion rights, said: “Marriage will be undermined because we will no longer be able to teach our children that marriage exists to protect them.”

“If this goes ahead the child will no longer be regarded as fundamental to the married state, marriage will become a genderless institution”.

Despite the language, Mr Smeaton denied he was in favour of homophobic discrimination.

“I’m seeking to defend families and children.

“There is no question whatsoever that we are in any way interested in, or concerned about, or wanting to discriminate against anybody,” Mr Smeaton said.

Tony Mullett, SPUC’s branch development officer for England and Wales, backed Mr Smeaton’s views, saying: “We have got to defend marriage as the traditional definition between a man and a woman.

“If we alter the definition, we undermine marriage, we undermine the family and we undermine society.”

SPUC were set up 45 years ago with an aim “to respect human life and in particular that of the unborn child”.

On its website, the society has been promoting the C4M petition against the government’s plans to introduce civil marriage equality along with a “step-by-step guide” on how to lobby parliamentarians against supporting the measure.