Britain risks becoming a totalitarian state as a result of gay marriage and could go the way of Nazi Germany, Tory opponents of the government's plans have heard.
Addressing an anti-gay marriage rally in Birmingham Town Hall on the fringes of the Tory Party conference on Monday, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said Christians had so far been "too timid" in their opposition to the government's plans.
He also warned that those of faith could even begin to experience the persecution endured by the Jews in Nazi Germany if they dared to speak out if same-sex marriage laws were passed.
"Remember that the Jews in Nazi Germany, what started it against them was when they were called names, that was the first stage towards that totalitarian state," he said.
He added: "It's part of a slippery slope where the unintended consequences could be shocking."
Lord Carey said politicians were trying to "plunder" the institution of marriage. "It's like annexing what was regarded as specific to make and female relationships."
He added: "Same sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level."
Along with the other speakers including former shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe and current backbench Tory MP David Burrows, Lord Carey took exception to the 'Coalition4Marriage' campaign being called "bigots".
Nick Clegg caused controversy recently after his office issued, and later retracted, a speech in which opponents of same-sex marriages were called "bigots".
Widdecombe told the sympathetic crowd that while MPs still had freedom of speech "the people they govern are no longer free to speak their minds".
Rallying the crowd with a speech that ended with her arms raised in the style of an American pastor, Widdecome said the restrictions on peoples freedoms that would come from gay marriage were "the hallmark of a totalitarian states down the ages".
She added a direct appeal to David Cameron warning him he had done a "lot of damage to the party" and to "drop this measure now".
Widdecome told The Huffingtonpost UK that the campaign was not "anti-gay" and said many gay people were opposed to the coalition's plans as it was creating divisions in the country.
"In the end people who believe in traditional marriage are not going to be able to participate in such a wide range of professions and jobs that they're actually going to be come social outcasts, I don't mean in the sense that no one will have anything to do with them, but they will find it very hard to function in the mainstream.
The former shadow home secretary dismissed the concerns of the protesters outside the event who had greeted guests with shouts of: "You say Tory, we say bigots" and "You're son might be gay - and that's OK".
"I gather they think we're bigots," she said of the protesters. "Its not anti-gay, there is no one right which you're giving to gays which they don't already have under civil partnerships.
"You're taking it away from heterosexuals but you're not giving anything to the gays.
"It will leave gay rights completely unaffected which is why so many gay people are against this they know they have got full rights, what they don't want to do is to divide society on something as big as this."
However the loud protesters outside the hall were equally damning of the language used by religious opponents of same-sex marriage.
Laura, who was part of the demonstration, told HuffPost that the supporters of gay marriage did "not want to interfere in religious
ceremonies" buy simply wanted the right to call their unions marriages.
Another protester lamented the way opponents of gay marriage spoke about the government's plans: "It's the language they use".
Gay marriage may be creating divisions in the country but it is also a source of deep divisions within the Conservative Party, whose leadership has sought to embrace its gay members and shake off the legacy of Section 28, and other pieces of legislation viewed as anti-gay.
Senior Tories including Cameron and George Osborne have forcefully set out the case for gay marriage, however opponents have been very vocal at the Conservative's conference and a poll of local Tory chairman showed that 71% oppose the plans.
The split within the party on the issue is laid bare on the conference floor, the Coalition 4 Marriage stall is only a few meters away from the LGBT Tory stand - if carefully not in line of sight.
One Tory party member in his 20s, who said he was heterosexual, told HuffPostUK that he could not believe the "bonkers" anti-gay marriage voices he heard around the conference centre.
But another attending the rally in the Town Hall repeatedly ordered this reporter to write down the strongest anti-gay marriage lines "in capitals".