Not wanting to be outdone in the alarmist anti-LGBT hysteria department by their Anglican brethren (who threatened last month to disestablish the Church of England from the state if the government legalizes same-sex marriage), the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland have declared war on marriage equality. Speaking yesterday to the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, Cardinal Keith O’Brien — the senior-most Catholic in Scotland — did not mince words on the subject:

“Marriage is under threat and politicians need to know the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meeting any cost in its defense. . . We will use this opportunity to remind Catholics of the importance of marriage as a union of a man and a woman and to urge them to be generous in contributing to a special collection which will be used to support initiatives in defense of marriage.”

O’Brien also threatened the Scottish government, warning that it would face what he called an “unprecedented backlash” if it allowed same-sex couples equal access to civil marriage.

Gay Star News reports that O’Brien has a history of anti-gay comments, having previously described marriage equality as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.” O’Brien has also falsely claimed that Scottish Catholic churches would be compelled to marry same-sex couples, made the baseless assertion that same-sex relationships are unhealthy, inferior to opposite-sex relationships, and detrimental to children, and deliriously warned that marriage equality would force schools to stock what he called “homosexual fairy stories.” The news source also quotes a Catholic Church spokesperson who said that this latest escalation “. . . is a straight-forward plan by the church to up the stakes in the war on gay marriage [sic].”

Speaking on behalf of the Equality Network, the charity campaigning for marriage equality in Scotland, Policy Coordinator Tom French said:

“For the Catholic Church to spend another £100,000 fighting LGBT equality in its self-declared ‘war on gay marriage’ seems to be an aggressive, undemocratic and unchristian thing to do.

At a time of financial crisis, when poverty and deprivation are on the rise, surely there are better things that this money could be spent on. We know that two-thirds of Scots, and a majority of Scottish Catholics, support same-sex marriage. We trust that the Scottish Government will make its decision based on democratic principles and the evidence, and not who can spend the most money. We urge the Scottish Government to stand up for equality and not give in to threats.”

While Cardinal O’Brien’s outrageous, “you’re-either-with-us-or-you’re-with-the-gay-marriage-terrorists” rhetoric is sure to induce some well-deserved eye rolling (and believe me, it sure did here), we’d be foolish not to realize that the exact same thing will happen with increased regularity on this side of the pond as public support for marriage equality continues to grow rapidly. Don’t believe me? Some of America’s highest-ranking Catholic officials are already making similarly outlandish claims, and both the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Benedict XVI himself have endorsed the spiritual bullying of LGBT people.

Fasten your seatbbelts — it’s going to be a bumpy night.