In the furore surrounding Cardinal O'Brien's remonstrations over proposals for same sex marriage, moral outrage has been expressed over his supposed intolerance of homosexuals ("Cardinal in fresh attack on gay marriage", The Herald, March 6).

As usual in this debate, the promoters of homosexual rights have attempted to skew the argument by misrepresenting the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Cardinal's comments were aimed at politicians who are so obsessed with the rights agenda that they think they have the right to redefine the meaning of marriage. The common understanding of this term –- which pre-dates Christianity – is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. To claim anything else is to deny reality.

David Cameron, Alex Salmond and other political leaders seem to be prepared to distort language for their own political ends. They want to use words to mean whatever suits their political ends.

We've been here before. When the civil partnership legislation was introduced, politicians attacked "scaremongers" who predicted that gay lobbyists would not be content with this provision and would push for the legal right to marry. Now, just a few years later, we are assured that no church will be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. Who could rely on such empty promises?

Michael McGrath,

Director, Scottish Catholic Education Service,

75 Craigpark,