“Identity politics” should not trump the common good, according to the head of the Anglican Church.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said that the continued championing of feminism, ethnic minorities and gay rights could leave society “fragmented”.
Dr Rowan Williams made the comments during a visit to Cardiff where he discussed the issue of identity with young people.
Earlier this month the Government launched a consultation on redefining marriage, which critics have described as a “sham”.
Pro-marriage supporters have accused the Government of pressing ahead despite the majority of the public opposing these plans.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is due to step down at the end of the year, has already indicated his opposition to redefining marriage in law.
And during Monday’s visit to Wales Dr Williams was critical of “identity politics”.
The Archbishop said: “Identity politics, whether it is the politics of feminism, whether it is the politics of ethnic minorities or the politics of sexual minorities, has been a very important part of the last 10 or 20 years because before that I think there was a sense that diversity was not really welcome.”
Dr Williams added: “We are now, I think, beginning to see the pendulum swinging back and saying identity politics is all very well but we have to have some way of putting it all back together again and discovering what is good for all of us and share something of who we are with each other so as to discover more about who we are.”
He continued: “Once we start saying this is my identity and that’s it then I think we are in danger of really fragmenting the society we belong to.”
Last month during a speech about human rights, the Archbishop warned that marriage should not be redefined in law.
A grassroots petition has been set up by the Coalition for Marriage, supporting the traditional definition of marriage.
The petition has attracted 340,000 signatures in just over a month, and can be signed here: www.c4m.org.uk