Christian groups backed by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said they are sending 175,000 emails which will invite people to sign a petition opposing the introduction of same-sex marriage. The group Coalition for Marriage (C4M) has said the Government has no democratic mandate to introduce the legislation and has betrayed a promise made by the last Labour administration to maintain a distinction between civil partnerships and marriage. Lord Carey described plans to introduce same-sex marriage as a “hostile strike” and an act of “cultural and theological vandalism” against an institution dating back thousands of years. “The avowed intention to widen the scope of marriage as we see before us is a hostile strike, which rather than strengthening marriage will destroy its meaning and diminish its importance drastically,” he told a news conference in central London. The campaign, which has the backing of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, is opposed to Government plans to legislate for same-sex marriages by 2015.