Bishop Thomas Tobin, the leader of Rhode Island's Roman Catholic Diocese, has called a proposed gay marriage law “immoral and unnecessary.”

In a statement released Monday, Tobin called on lawmakers to drop the proposed measure.

Tobin said the Catholic Church rejects the “homosexual lifestyle,” which he described as a threat to religious freedom, and called for the issue to be settled at the ballot box.

“On a question of this magnitude, then, the people of this state should decide as they have in many other states,” he wrote. “Let us vote!”

“Some have argued that the 'civil rights' of the minority should not be determined by the vote of the majority. I challenge that premise though. What is the source of this so-called 'civil right?' Where is the moral or legal 'right' to marry a person of the same gender found? It certainly has not been part of the human experience, of human history. It is simply the personal happiness or fulfillment of individuals, the 'right to do whatever I want to do?' If that's the argument, it opens up all sorts of other social experiments for us, doesn't it?”

Tobin added that gay folks are “our brothers and sisters”

“It is our very concern for their spiritual welfare, however, that motivates our rejection of the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage,” he said.

(Related: Lincoln Chafee eager for Rhode Island to legalize gay marriage.)