A US Catholic scholar has blasted the Republican National Committee’s plan to reach out to gay voters, saying that condoning homosexuality will “lead to disaster.”

John Horvat II, of Pennsylvania, said: “The idea that a major political party must accept the practice of homosexuality as normal so as to remain relevant will prove the contrary and lead to disaster.”

It’s one of several rebukes following yesterday’s announcement of a $10 million (£6.62 million) campaign to target gay and ethnic minority voters by the US Republican National Committee.

Just minutes after the party released a report stating its new efforts to become more “welcoming and inclusive,” the party chairman Reince Priebus distanced himself from it.

“This is not my report,”  Mr Priebus told reporters, describing the contents as simply recommendations by a five-person panel — even though he was the person who had commissioned the self-audit after the party’s defeat to President Obama in 2012.

“The perception that we’re the party of the rich unfortunately continues to grow,” said Mr Priebus.

Criticism also came from Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, who said the party is straying from its conservative message.