A Catholic cardinal in Chicago on Wednesday compared the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.
Appearing on Fox's Chicago station, Cardinal Francis George complained that this year's Gay Pride Parade route would mean that Our Lady of Mount Carmel might have to cancel Sunday mass for the first time in almost 100 years.
"You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," George said.
"That's a little strong analogy, Ku Klux Klan," Fox Chicago's Dane Placko noted.
"It is," George agreed. "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? The Catholic Church."
Upon hearing the church's concerns, parade organizers agreed to move the event start time from 10 a.m. to noon.
The parade is normally held on the last Sunday in June. The route was changed to accommodate a large crowd after more than 800,000 people attended last year's event, causing crowd control and traffic problems. A 10 a.m. start time was suggested to reduce the amount of drinking.
State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) on Wednesday called for George to apologize.
"The Cardinal's unfortunate choice of words in comparing the LGBT community to the Klu Klux Klan is offensive," she told ChicagoPride.com.
The Gay Liberation Network released a statement calling George a "mendacious" man for "trying to deflect criticism of church policies that promote discrimination."
"It is ironic that George chooses to mention the KKK, as they are but one of the most extreme examples of organizations which have used religion to shield themselves from criticism of their hateful policies," the statement said. "While an overwhelming majority of lay Catholics support equality for women and LGBTs, the Catholic leadership has a history and present practice of discrimination which they apparently will go to quite extreme lengths to defend."