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Gay rights protest is held despite cardinal's apology

Handful of activists demonstrate outside cathedral

By Erin Meyer, Chicago Tribune reporter - LINK
12:01 a.m. CST, January 9, 2012

GLN permalink 1-9-2012

Despite an apology from Cardinal Francis George for recently likening the church's clash with the gay rights movement to the anti-Catholicism of the Ku Klux Klan, a handful of gay rights activists demonstrated outside Holy Name Cathedral Sunday, saying his contrition wasn't enough.

"It is totally inadequate," said Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, referring to the statement posted on the archdiocese's website Friday night. "When it came time to issue an apology he chose the most passive manner to do it. ... I would say it to his face."

George's controversial comments, broadcast on Fox Chicago TV, came in response to a question about whether next summer's gay pride parade would disrupt morning services at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in the Lakeview neighborhood.

"You know, you don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," George told two Fox News reporters in an interview that aired on Christmas. "So I think if that's what's happening, and I don't know that it is, but I would respect the local pastor's, you know, position on that."

Three gay rights organizations had planned a protest outside Holy Name during the midday mass Sunday. They called off the protest after George issued his apology Friday.

"We asked for an apology, and we got an apology," said Joe Murray, executive director of the Rainbow Sash Movement, a group of gay and lesbian Catholics who believe they should receive Holy Communion. "From our perspective, it was a heartfelt apology."

Nick Costello, 41, a member of the Knights of Columbus and a parishioner at Holy Name, defended the cardinal to protesters Sunday.

"I think his apology was aimed at the hurt it caused," Costello said. "There is plenty of angry rhetoric (in the gay rights movement) directed at the cardinal."

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

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