Catholic social conservatives demanding the ouster of a gay Faith Council member received little comfort on Tuesday from a White House spokesman.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave the Obama Administration's first response to the controversy surrounding openly gay Harry Knox's appointment to the president's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The Catholic groups have called on Obama to fire Knox, director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, accusing the former United Methodist Church pastor of being a “virulent anti-Catholic bigot.”

Among the signatories to a letter addressed to Obama are Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League, Chuck Donovan, executive vice president of Family Research Council, Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.

The groups say Knox is the “hate-filled antithesis” of the Faith Council's objectives.

“Knox is a virulent anti-Catholic bigot, and has made numerous vile and dishonest attacks against the Church and the Holy Father,” the letter says. “He has no business on any Council having to do with faith or religion.”

Backers of the campaign provided U.S. News and World Report Journalist Dan Gilgoff with a list of Knox's alleged offensives. The group's primary objections all appear to revolve around Knox's support of the gay and lesbian community, including his defense of a Cheyenne, Wyoming lesbian couple who in 2007 were barred from receiving communion, his criticism of the Vatican's rejection of an United Nations resolution calling for the universal decriminalization of being gay, and his disagreement with Pope Benedict on the efficacy of condoms in controlling AIDS infections.

Knox has also criticized the Knights of Columbus for supporting an anti-gay marriage initiative that the California Supreme Court has upheld as constitutional (Proposition 8).

Obama Spokesman Gibbs shrugged off a question on the controversy posed by a reporter Tuesday.

“I haven't seen that letter, but the president is comfortable with the makeup of his faith advisory council,” Gibbs said.

The Faith Council is composed of 25 prominent religious figures and includes two anti-gay leaders: Joel Hunter, who once headed the Christian Coalition, the most widely recognized anti-gay and anti-abortion group in the nation, and Rev. Jim Wallis, president and chief executive of Sojourners, a Washington-based evangelical magazine, who is a vocal opponent of abortion and gay marriage.