Same-sex marriage legislation should include a conscience clause similar to that in abortion laws, religious leaders have argued.
The Free Church of Scotland said this would offer greater protection to individual celebrants who do not want to carry out marriage ceremonies for gay couples.
A conscience clause could also help protect teachers who do not want to teach pupils about same-sex marriage as part of their classes, the church said.
Medical staff who are opposed to abortion can refuse to play any part in the procedure if it goes against their beliefs, with the conscience clause allowing them to take this stance.
A Free Church spokesman said: “The legislation has worked well for abortion, another deeply contentious moral issue, and it would make sense to have similar provision for same-sex marriage.”
In June the Scottish Government published legislation that, if passed by Holyrood, will allow same-sex couples to wed. Under the SNP administration’s plans, religious bodies would have to opt in to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
If a religious group does decide to do this, protection will also be offered to individual celebrants who feel it would go against their faith to carry out gay weddings.
The Free Church wants “some reassurance that in the eyes of the state it will still be legal to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman”.