Gay rights campaigners have criticised the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey for making another outspoken attack on equal marriage.

Earlier today, Lord Carey appeared to compare the opponents of equal marriage to persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany.

Addressing an anti-equal marriage rally, held against the backdrop of the Conservative Party Conference at Birmingham Town Hall, Lord Carey said it was wrong to call opponents “bigots”.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was criticised last month after early drafts of a speech suggested he was prepared to use the word to describe the detractors of the government’s equal marriage policy at an LGBT reception in central London.

The word was subsequently withdrawn from the Lib Dem leader’s speech, and several days later he wrote to apologise to Anglican and Catholic leaders for the “serious error”.

According to the Press Association, Lord Carey told this afternoon’s fringe audience of mostly Conservative Party activists:

“Remember that the Jews in Nazi Germany, what started it against them was when they were called names, that was the first stage towards that totalitarian state”.

He continued: “Same-sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level. Why does it feel to us that our cultural homeland and identity is being plundered?”

Lord Carey also warned that equal marriage would pave the way for traditional Mormon-style polygamous relationships, pointing to an application in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a man to enter into a civil union with two women.

“That is getting into a Mormon-style relationship,” he said after the event. “It’s a slippery slope.”

In response, Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, Britain’s largest gay rights charity said:

“Gay people remember all too well what happened in the Holocaust. The fact that Lord Carey is making such distressing comments rather suggests he knows he hasn’t any good arguments against equal marriage”.