Openly gay popstar Will Young believes vicars who describe gay marriage as ‘abhorrent’ should be prosecuted for hate crimes.
He made the comments live on national television as BBC1’s Question Time debated Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s remarks about same-sex marriage.
Daily Mail columnist Janice Atkinson, who was also on the show, warned that clergy could be “called into a police station” for sharing their beliefs on traditional marriage in strong terms to which Mr Young replied “yes, rightfully so”.
Mrs Atkinson added that Britain would be “walking into a police state if we go down that route”.
Earlier in the programme the popstar claimed that if Cardinal O’Brien had made similar remarks regarding race or religion “he’d be in court now”.
Government minister Eric Pickles said, “for merely expressing the view that it is wrong in the view of his religion, to turn that into a hate crime would be the worst kind of repression”.
Last month the Archbishop of York was sent “abusive and threatening” racist emails after speaking out against same-sex marriage.
And last year a housing manager in Manchester was demoted and had his salary cut by 40 per cent because of his views on marriage expressed on his Facebook page.
The Westminster Government is expected to launch a consultation this month asking how, not whether, marriage should be redefined.
A grassroots petition seeking to protect the current definition of marriage has attracted more than 120,000 signatures.
It is being run by the Coalition for Marriage, and can be signed here: www.c4m.org.uk