Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has criticized the government plans to legalize gay marriage. He termed it as madness and a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.

Cardinal O'Brien accused ministers of trying to redefine reality and dismantle the universally understood meaning of marriage.

He said the idea of redefining marriage would shame the country in the eyes of the world.

Writing for The Sunday Telegraph, Cardinal O'Brien said: Since all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples, it is clear that this proposal is not about rights, but rather is an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists.

Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.

If same-sex marriage is enacted into law what will happen to the teacher who wants to tell pupils that marriage can only mean - and has only ever meant - the union of a man and a woman?

In Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, marriage is defined as a relationship between men and women. But when our politicians suggest jettisoning the established understanding of marriage and subverting its meaning they aren't derided, he added.

Instead, their attempt to redefine reality is given a polite hearing, their madness is indulged. Their proposal represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.

At a Conservative Party conference last year, British Prime Minister David Cameron supported the gay marriage.

A few days ago, the Home Office supported the plan after Tory MP Peter Bone had called them completely nuts.

A Home Office spokeswoman told BBC that the government believed that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage irrespective of their sexual orientation.