CAIRO - Britain's Muslims and Sikhs have joined forces to oppose government plans to legalize same-sex marriages, describing the move as an assault on religion.
"Like other Abrahamic faiths, marriage in Islam is defined as a union between a man and a woman," Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said in statements posted on the umbrella group's website.
"So while, the state has accommodated for gay couples, such unions will not be blessed as marriage by the Islamic institutions.
The British government plans to legalize same-sex marriages by 2015.
Under the plans, same-sex couples would be allowed to marry in register offices and venues such as hotels, but not in churches, synagogues and other religious premises.
Ministers argue that the change will therefore affect civil rather than religious marriage.
The plans are already meeting opposition from Catholic religious leaders, who warn that the move would undermine the nature of marriage.
Supporting the Catholic opposition, the MCB described the government plans as "unnecessary and unhelpful".
"With the advent of civil partnerships, both homosexual and heterosexual couples now have equal rights in the eyes of the law," Murad said.
Britain introduced civil partnership in 2005 to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. The unions, however, are not recognized as marriages.
"Therefore, in our view the case to change the definition of marriage, as accepted throughout time and across cultures, is strikingly weak," said Murad.
Britain is home to a Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.
Attack on Religion
Sikh leaders have also opposed plans to legalize same-sex marriages in Britain.
"It is an attempt by a vocal, secular minority to attack religion, he told BBC Radio 4's Today program.
He said Sikhs believe that marriage is a union of man and a woman, warning that legalizing same-sex marriages would "dilute" the definition of marriage in religious scriptures.
"It's being changed and for no real gain because the law rightly gives every respect to a civil partnership," he told The Sunday Telegraph.
"It is more of a sideways assault on religion, that 'we can dilute your beliefs and values', and I find that concerning.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, warned earlier this month that the plans would shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world" if implemented.
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.