The Government’s consultation document on redefining marriage did not use the words “children”, “husband” or “wife”.
And while the 25-page document used the word “relationship” 14 times it failed to make any reference to brothers, sisters and offspring.
The document, which was prepared by the Equalities Office, also made only passing technical references to fathers and mothers.
The lack of reference to children was noticed by the Roman Catholic Church.
Archbishop Peter Smith, writing in the Church’s official submission, said: “The government’s proposal risks initiating a social change which, perhaps inadvertently, places the best interests of children to one side in focusing only on the relationship of the couple.
“The reality of this risk is eloquently expressed by the simple fact that children are not mentioned even once in the government’s consultation document.”
He added: “Changing the law on marriage would, over time, inevitably influence how the public as a whole understands marriage.
“Marriage would become an arrangement defining the legal relationship of a couple. It would cease to be the foundation of the family.”
The Government’s consultation on rewriting the definition of marriage closed earlier this month. Reports suggest that more than 100,000 responses were submitted.
In its submission the Church of England warned that introducing same-sex marriage could trigger a constitutional crisis and end the 500-year link between church and state.
And last week the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, broke his silence and made known his opposition to Government plans to change the meaning of marriage.
A carefully worded submission to the Home Office consultation stated that same-sex unions are “against Jewish law”.
The submission was made in the name of the London Beth Din (the Chief Rabbi’s court) and the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue.
In March the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella group warned that the case for the Government’s proposal to redefine marriage is “strikingly weak”.