An unprecedented alliance of evangelical, Catholic and Free Church leaders has issued a joint appeal to the Scottish Government to ditch changes to the law that could potentially criminalise any criticism of transgender ideology.
The Christian leaders want the Scottish Government to drop Part 2 of the proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland), which makes "stirring up hatred" an offence.
In a joint letter, the Catholic Church, Free Church of Scotland and Evangelical Alliance Scotland want the section withdrawn from the Bill "to allow more detailed consideration and discussion and to ensure freedom of expression provisions, which enshrine free and open debate, are afforded the scrutiny they require."
They outline their concerns in a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf, in which they call for greater protections for freedom of expression.
"We believe that people should be completely free to disagree with our faith in any way, including mocking and ridiculing us," they said.
"We are convinced that our faith is true and has a sufficient evidential basis to withstand any criticism, we therefore welcome open debate."
They fear that if the law is passed in its current form, people who disagree with or criticise transgender identity could fall foul of the regulations.
They go on to say that opinions at variance with the idea that sex or gender is fluid should be heard as part of the ongoing public debate around transgenderism.
"Transgender identity has been subject of extensive and emotional public discussion," they say, adding that there should be "open and honest debate" around the issue.
"Such free discussion and criticism of views is vital as society wrestles with these ideas."
The letter marks the first time that Catholic Church, Free Church and Evangelical Alliance leaders have jointly petitioned the Scottish Government and sought a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
They conclude: "A right to claim that binary sex does not exist or is fluid must be matched with a right to disagree with that opinion; and protection from prosecution for holding it.
"The Parliament now has approximately four weeks to complete the passage of the bill. This is extraordinarily tight and risks inadequate and ill-thought through legislation being passed.
"No workable solutions to issues of freedom of expression have so far been suggested. If no such solutions can be found we hope the Scottish Government will now consider withdrawing the stirring up hatred offences in Part 2 of the bill to allow more detailed consideration and discussion and to ensure freedom of expression provisions, which enshrine free and open debate, are afforded the scrutiny they require."