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Chicago's Roman Catholic leader backing away from anti-gay comments

Cardinal Francis George had likened gay activists to the Ku Klux Klan

Chicago's Roman Catholic leader backing away from anti-gay comments

Cardinal Francis George does not want Chicago's Gay Pride Parade route to go by one of the city's oldest Roman Catholic chuches even though it is located just outside the city's famous Boystown neighborhood.

The LGBT community is calling for the resignation of Chicago's Roman Catholic leader is under fire for saying he believes the June parade could lead to a situation where marchers morph 'into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.'

The cardinal's comparison, made during a recent interview with a local Fox news reporter, has caused an uproar as did this response when he was asked if he was being too harsh: 'It is, but you take a look at the rhetoric. The rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.'

Gay state representative Greg Harris, whose district includes the parade route, is among those outraged by those remarks.

'I think the cardinal's remarks were inappropriate and disrespectful,' Harris tells 'We should always treat each other with respect, even when we disagree.'

While he initially refused to apologize for his remarks, on Christmas Day he did attempt to soften them, according to ABC News Chicago.

'Obviously, it’s absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan, but if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshipping God, well then that’s the comparison, but it’s not with people and people — it’s parade-parade,' he told the news station.

Cardinal George turns 75 next month and as is custom when reaching this retirement age, he will be submitting his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI who must then decide whether or not to accept it.