Hundreds of people have been penalised for opposing gay marriage in Canada since marriage was redefined, a US magazine reports.
The National Review, one of America’s most widely read political magazines, says there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings in less than five years.
Public employees have been disciplined, businesses have been sued and churches have been threatened with sanctions over their matrimonial beliefs.
The article’s author, Michael Coren, wrote: “once gay marriage becomes law, critics are often silenced by the force of the law.”
He added: “it’s estimated that, in less than five years, there have been between 200 and 300 proceedings — in courts, human-rights commissions, and employment boards — against critics and opponents of same-sex marriage.
“And this estimate doesn’t take into account the casual dismissals that surely have occurred.”
Mr Coren said: “A considered and empathetic opposition to same-sex marriage has nothing to do with phobia or hatred, but that doesn’t stop Christians, conservatives, and anybody else who doesn’t take the fashionable line from being condemned as Neanderthals and bigots.
“This is a lesson that Canadians have learned from painful experience.”
In Britain, the Westminster Government is currently consulting on plans to redefine marriage in England and Wales.
The move has proved highly controversial with over 500,000 from across the UK signing a petition against the proposals organised by the Coalition for Marriage.
The Scottish Government has concluded its consultation on similar plans and an analysis of the responses is due to be published soon.
Over 60,000 responses were submitted, dwarfing the number submitted to the Scottish Government’s consultation on an independence referendum.