Leaders of more than one million ethnically diverse churchgoers say the Government is ignoring their concerns about “fundamental changes to the nature of marriage”.
The leaders, who represent ten church communities, say same-sex marriage “will not be a victory for equality”.
One of the leaders, Revd Yemi Adedeji, also accuses David Cameron of having a view of equality that excludes “the major migrant communities”.
The stinging criticism came in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, published yesterday.
They wrote: “We are leaders of large, ethnically diverse denominations in Britain – growing churches.
“Instead of hearing our concerns, the Government is taking direction from tiny faith groups to infer backing for its plans.
“If the Government gets its way, it will not be a victory for equality.
“Equality requires diversity, and diversity requires distinctiveness, and marriage is and always will be distinctively a union between a man and a woman.”
The leaders, who include the General Superintendent of Elim Pentecostal Church, added: “By changing marriage from its historic foundation it would be creating a legal fiction, and consequently devaluing this vitally important social institution.
“The Government is not respecting difference, and it is not promoting a plural society.
“The people of Britain need to have their say.
“These plans were not in any party’s manifesto, and if the Government had any respect for democracy it would allow a referendum before making fundamental changes to the nature of marriage.”
Revd Adedeji, the Director of the One People Commission, said David Cameron’s vision of equality appeared to be that of a “white, liberal elite”.
“This is a very specialised definition of equality within the context of a particular liberal, north London world view,” he commented.
Revd Adedeji added: “That is not equality for the major migrant communities who want to go out and vote and be part of the future if the country.
“We are saying ‘have you really consulted these people?'”
He added: “That is going to be a major challenge for the Conservative party in the next election.”