Chicago Cardinal Francis George is finding himself in the middle of a potentially-flammable controversy after he made a comparison between the Ku Klux Klan and gay activists. Now, some gay rights enthusiasts are calling for the Catholic leader to step down. A press release from Truth Wins Out reads:

Truth Wins Out launched a Change.org petition today calling on Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Francis George to resign after he incomprehensibly compared the LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan. George’s over-the-top remarks were so extreme that they shredded his credibility and permanently damaged his ability to serve as a respected voice of reason.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George Under Fire Over Gay & KKK Comments

A screen shot of the Change.org petition

The controversy started during an interview with Fox Chicago on Wednesday when George apparently said, “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.”

During the interview, he admitted that the comparison was strong, but reiterated his views on the matter. “The rhetoric of the KKK and the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people — Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church,” he continued.

The statements were in reference to frustrations that were being felt by a local pastor over region’s the annual gay pride parade. The faith leader claimed that the event, due to its route, would force the church to cancel morning mass, George said that he supported the pastor and his concerns.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George Under Fire Over Gay & KKK Comments

Chicago Cardinal Francis George (AP Photo)

In the end, the situation was rectified, as the parade’s organizers agreed to start at a different time. The Chicago Tribune has more:

On Wednesday, organizers with Chicago’s annual gay pride parade agreed to a later start time after Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church leaders objected to a newly-proposed route they claimed would block access to Sunday Masses. Leaders said the new route would draw massive crowds and block the church’s entrance.

Gay rights activists are extremely frustrated and offended by George’s comments. Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic groups that support LGBT rights, said that the statements were both “demagogic” and “crude.”

“Cardinal George’s offensive comments are further evidence of just how insensitive and out of touch the hierarchy is, and why opposition to its views is necessary,” the group wrote in a statement.

“It is outrageous that Cardinal George would place law-abiding, peaceful citizens in the same category as a notoriously violent hate group,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “George’s resignation is his only road to redemption and if he has a shred of dignity and a sliver of class he will immediately step down.”

(H/T: Chicago Tribune)