Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, has been banned from meeting the Pope because of proposals to redefine marriage.
Mr Salmond had hoped to put himself on the world stage by meeting the Pope at the Vatican ahead of a Scottish referendum on independence.
But Roman Catholic leaders blocked the move because the meeting would have sent out the “wrong message”, given Mr Salmond’s position on gay marriage.
The snub was reported today, the same day that Alex Salmond launches his “Yes Scotland” campaign for Scottish independence.
Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party has worked hard to attract support from Scotland’s 800,000 Roman Catholics.
But he has been embroiled in a row with the Church over his gay marriage plans.
A poll commissioned by Scotland For Marriage – a group that backs traditional marriage – shows that 11 per cent of voters are less likely to back independence if the Scottish Government redefines marriage.
In a tight race, that could be enough to shatter the SNP’s dream of a fully independent Scotland.
The Scottish Government is currently analysing responses to its public consultation on redefining marriage.
Over 60,000 responses were submitted, making it the largest response in Scottish Government history – dwarfing the response to the consultation on an independence referendum.
The analysis report is expected to be published very soon, the Scottish Government has remained tight lipped about whether it will progress with its gay marriage plans.
But when the consultation was launched, ministers said the SNP-led Scottish Government “tend towards” the view that marriage should be redefined.