Catholic leaders are furious at Scotland's largest gay rights organization, Stonewall Scotland, for naming Cardinal Keith O'Brien their Bigot of the Year for his opposition to gay marriage.

In March, O'Brien, who heads the Scottish Catholic Church, called the government's plans to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples “madness” and a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right.”

He also compared such unions to plural relationships.

“If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two woman, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledged their fidelity to one another?”

The church has also claimed that people of the same sex who marry suffer greater risks of mental illness and premature death.

Stonewall Scotland gave out its awards on Thursday.

“Stonewall and others have promoted terms like 'bigot' and 'homophobe' relentlessly, in order to intimidate and vilify anyone who dares oppose their agenda,” a church spokesman told The Guardian.

Colin Macfarlane, the director of Stonewall Scotland, reacted to the criticism, insisting the award was justified.

“We've never called anyone a bigot just because they don't agree with us,” he said. “But in just the past 12 months, the cardinal has gone well beyond what any normal person would call a decent level of public discourse.”