A High Court judge who said the government should have sidelined equal marriage for England and Wales as it would only benefit “0.1%” of the population is stepping down, claiming the judiciary has ostracised him for his views.

In December 2012, Sir Paul Coleridge said that ministers should focus on supporting existing married couples, rather than the “wrong policy” of equal marriage, which he claimed affects only “0.1%″ of the population.

Sir Paul told The Times: “So much energy and time has been put into this debate for 0.1 per cent of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown.

“It’s gratifying that marriage in any context is centre stage … but it [equal marriage] is a minority issue. We need a much more focused position by the government on the importance of marriage.”

Speaking to The Tablet, a Catholic publication, Sir Paul said that he could have continued in his role for several more years had it not been for last year’s remarks.

His comments triggered complaints to the Judicial Complaints Investigations Office which only weeks earlier had warned him to keep a “lower profile” after speaking out about his concerns over the decline of marriage.

The High Court judge runs a charity to combat the breakdown of families, the Marriage Foundation, and through it he has encouraged people to “recycle rubbish, but not your partner”.

“I could have struggled on … if I had got more solid support,” he said.

“But after April, I will be freer to be outspoken.”

He also said that “hundreds” of judges were too afraid to voice support for his foundation publicly because they thought it might harm their careers.

The Telegraph reports in a speech last month Sir Paul acknowledged that his interventions on marriage had “upset” the senior judiciary.