Cardinal George made the comparison whilst all a'flutter over the proposed new route of the 2012 Chicago Pride Parade, which would bring the Parade by a Chicago church and potentially hinder its ability to conduct Sunday mass. Before even asking Chicago Pride to alter the route — which they subsequently happily did — Cardinal George decided to take the original reroute personally, and said, on FOX News:
You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholics.
Cardinal George later defended his statements, explaining in some detail how "some" modern-day LGBTs really are KKKish. He got some flack for it. A protest was scheduled. And now, in a remarkably self-aware interiew with the Tribune, George says:
I am truly sorry for the hurt my remarks have caused, particularly because we all have friends or family members who are gay and lesbian. This has evidently wounded a good number of people. I have family members myself who are gay and lesbian, so it's part of our lives. So I'm sorry for the hurt. … When I was talking, I was speaking out of fear that I have for the church's liberty and I was reaching for an analogy which was very inappropriate, for which I'm sorry. I didn't realize the impact of what I was saying. … Sometimes fear is a bad motivation.
The apology is apparently too little, too late to prevent a protest from the Gay Liberation Network, whose spokesperson, Andy Thayer, calls George's statement "pathetically inadequate":
A few hours ago Cardinal George issued what has been termed by others as an "apology" on the Archdiocese website, even though the statement does not use that term. He said that while he was "sorry" that he hurt Lesbians and Gays, that his statement comparing gays to the KKK was "motivated by fear for the church's liberty."
This is completely disingenuous. No one was challenging the church's "liberty." Even though George himself has done everything he can to prevent legal equality for LGBTs, we have never in turn insisted that the church be forced to perform same-sex marriages, for example, any more than others have insisted that it be forced to perform marriages for divorcees.
Furthermore, apologies, in order to be real, need to be issued directly to those wronged. A web posting is about as passive a delivery of an apology as you can get. Cardinal George could have picked up the phone and called an LGBT journalist and had a genuine dialog about the issues. Moreover, his original slam against "the Gay Liberation Movement" sounded like it was directed at the Gay Liberation Network, which has led demonstrations against his support of discrimination on several occasions, and he could have delivered an apology to GLN.
After making his original comparison of gays to the KKK, he defended that statement on at least two subsequent occasions. George's statement tonight indicates he erred in making it sound like he felt that "all gays" were like the KKK — the implication is that he apparently still thinks many gays are fascists.
Finally, George's statement misses the genesis of how he got into this mess in the first place — the church leadership's long-standing and aggressive opposition to all equal rights legislation for LGBT people. When the church leadership ceases doing everything it can to oppose our equal participation in society, then we might believe that George truly cares about our feelings.
The protest is ON — 12 Noon, Sunday, Jan. 8th in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street.
In contrast to Catholic laity, a majority of whom SUPPORT equality for LGBTs, Cardinal George's bigotry must be opposed.
–Gay Liberation Network
UPDATE: Not everyone's as displeased with the Cardinal's apology as the Gay Liberation Network. The Illinois group called The Civil Rights Agenda has issued this statement:
The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) … has learned that Cardinal George has apologized for his incendiary rhetoric comparing the LGBT movement for civil rights with the Ku Klux Klan.
“I am incredibly pleased that Cardinal George has taken responsibility for his actions and has issued an apology for his comments comparing the LGBT Community to the KKK and the hurt those comments have caused.” stated Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “A true leader can admit when they are wrong, and the Cardinal has set a good example of leadership today with his statement. Now, with this apology, the LGBT community and the Catholic community can begin to heal the divides that this has caused.”
RE-UPDATE: The Gay Liberation Network has canceled its protest after all. Click here for deets.