NHS boards in Scotland have been attacked by religious groups, after lobbying ministers to weaken the ability to opt out of sex education.

It was reported yesterday that the boards had urged ministers to weaken proposals which would allow parents and teachers who disagree with same-sex marriage to opt out of sex education.

The NHS boards had urged also urged for more “protection” from parents who are opposed to the content of sex education, allowing children to choose to attend even if their parents oppose it.

According to the Telegraph, Scotland For Marriage, an anti-gay marriage lobbying group comprised of Kirk and Catholic religious organisations, attacked the NHS intervention.

A spokesperson said: “Ordinary Scots will be furious to learn that bureaucrats whose remit should be to improve the NHS are instead using their influence to actively undermine the rights and consciences of parents and teachers.

“Ultimately, this is a highly political intervention and one which is wholly inappropriate for publicly funded bodies.

“They are free to hold traditional family values in contempt, but they don’t have the right to tell parents and teachers what to believe.

“They should get back to solving the problems in the NHS.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “Sex education should always be delivered in consultation with parents and in accordance with the ethos of the school.

“Scottish health boards have been spectacularly unsuccessful in improving Scotland’s sexual health, allowing them to influence education policy would clearly be a recipe for further disaster.”

SNP ministers told the newspaper that they will “carefully consider” the submissions, and issue the revised guidance shortly.