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Gay group demands apology from Scottish cardinal who railed against gays and allegedly had sex with priests

BY JILL LAWLESS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON -- A Scottish cardinal who stepped down from church leadership after admitting sexual misconduct should apologize to gay people for his years of "vicious and cruel language" about them, Britain's leading gay-rights group said Monday.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned last week as Britain's top Roman Catholic cleric after being accused of inappropriate behavior by three priests and a former priest.

O'Brien did not address the allegations directly, but said Sunday that "my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal."

"To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness," he said.

Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said Monday that the group noted "with sadness that the cardinal didn't find it in him to apologize to gay people, their families and friends for the harm his vicious and cruel language caused."

O'Brien, 74, had been a staunch advocate of church teaching against homosexuality, calling same-sex marriage "a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right" and saying that British government plans to legalize same-sex marriage would "shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world."

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