The Scottish Government has suggested it will categorise Roman Catholic postcard responses differently to other individual responses in its consultation on redefining marriage.
The Roman Catholic Church has sent out postcards to parishioners on the issue and has already received over 14,000 completed cards.
The cards state: “Please let the Scottish Government know that I oppose any proposal to redefine marriage”, but there is concern that the Government will put them in a different category to individual responses.
John Deighan, the Parliamentary Officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said that categorising over 14,000 cards differently to individual responses, “in no way deals with the reality of the strength of feeling in this issue”.
He commented: “We’ve got the strength of numbers and the strength of arguments”.
He said that while the scale of support, “speaks for itself”, the Church “will also be submitting many well thought-out and argued submissions from individuals and organisations”.
The Government said: “The Scottish Government encourages everybody to send in an individual response”.
It continued: “In relation to postcard campaigns, the Scottish Government will count the number of postcards received.
“We will then outline in our analysis and summary, which will be published, how many postcards were received and what points were being made.
“This is in accordance with our guidance on consultations, published in 2008.”
In September the Scottish Government, led by the Scottish National Party (SNP), launched its consultation on changing the definition of marriage to allow for same-sex marriage.
There has been widespread opposition to the move, including from Sir Tom Farmer – the millionaire founder of Kwik Fit and a SNP donor.
He said: “Most people would see a marriage as being between two of the opposite sexes, the male and the female.”
And he commented: “One of the main important areas of marriage is the creation of children, and the family life.”
A former leader of the SNP, Gordon Wilson, has also warned against redefining marriage, saying: “You attack the building block of society at your peril”, adding, “this decision should be put to a referendum of the Scottish people”.
The Roman Catholic Church’s leader in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has also spoken out strongly against redefining marriage.