Chicago Cardinal Francis George, who once compared gay rights campaigners to the Ku Klux Klan, has come out in opposition to the recent passing of same-sex marriage in Illinois, calling it “bad legislation.”

The Illinois House voted 61-54 in favour of making same-sex marriage legal yesterday, in a move President Obama lauded for taking the US “one step further on that journey to perfect our union.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Francis George said a vote to legalise same-sex marriage was “no enormous surprise” for Illinois, but added that it was “bad legislation.”

He said: “It’s no enormous surprise. There was a lot of effort placed into passage of this legislation. I think it’s bad legislation, but we’ve lived with bad laws before. It’ll make some people happy … but it will also, I think, change the nature of our society over a period of time.”

The cardinal also turned down the idea of allowing married gay or lesbian Catholic couples to take communion in Chicago parishes.

He added: “If someone is living in a lifestyle that is publicly against the Gospel as interpreted in the church, whether heterosexual or they’re gay, no, they don’t take communion. But that’s the discipline of the sacrament that applies to everybody, not just to gays.”

The governor of Illinois has said he would sign the bill. Once this happens, it will become the 15th US state to allow same-sex marriage.

Previously, Francis George fell under controversy with organisers of Chicago’s Pride parade, forcing him to apologise for comparing the event to a Ku Klux Klan rally.

In June, the Gay Liberation Network and the Rainbow Sash movement planned to hold a demonstration to mark Francis Georges’ visit to the Chicago district of Belmont, turning their backs on the Cardinal as he attempted to hold his sermon.