Christians must choose between their religion and obeying the law, according to Trevor Phillips, the human rights watchdog.

He declared that Christians who want to be exempt from equality legislation are like Muslims trying to impose sharia.

Religious rules should end “at the door of the temple” and give way to the “public law” laid down by Parliament, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said.

He argued that Roman Catholic adoption agencies and other faith groups providing public services must choose between their religion and obeying the law when their beliefs conflict with the will of the state.

Mr Phillips singled out the adoption agencies that fought a long legal battle to avoid being forced to accept homosexual couples under equality laws.

Last year, following a High Court case, the Charity Commission ruled against an exemption for Catholic Care, an adoption agency operating in Leeds.

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