Apparently, the same-sex marriage bill will have a “chilling effect” on young Christians’ careers as they will worry being branded homophobic.

The comments were made in a letter to The Daily Telegraph signed by a group of Christian leaders including the second most senior Roman Catholic cleric in England and Wales, Anglican vicars and independent evangelical pastors.

According to these largely middle-aged male clerics, young people will be forced to “choose between their conscience and their career”, the church leaders write.

This comes after a letter from 500 imams accusing the government of attacking “the cornerstone of family life”.

Their claims follow the case of Adrian Smith, a housing trust worker from Trafford, Greater Manchester, who was demoted after commenting on a BBC news story that he thought churches shouldn’t stage gay weddings.

He won a High Court challenge later on, but hasn’t been reinstated.

The church leaders say there needs to be some sort of protection for people with views like Adrian Smith working in the public sector to be written into the law.

The Rev Charlie Skrine, of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, in London, told The Telegraph:

 “The young people I minister to share none of the homophobia that may have been present in earlier generations, but many of them have deep convictions of conscience about marriage that come from their own reading of the Bible.

 “These young people have real reasons to worry about their future if the bill is passed without significant amendments to protect their freedom of speech and freedom of belief.”

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