Actor Gary Sinise has scrapped plans to give a speech for members of a controversial religious group.

The Forrest Gump star had been due to appear at the Legatus conference in Florida later this month (Jan14) to give a talk about issues facing U.S. war veterans.

However, he has now pulled out amid a storm of controversy over the Catholic group's stance on gay issues. Members of Good as You, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights group, has accused Legatus of promoting "anti-gay" values and treating homosexuality as a "disorder".

In a statement posted on his Facebook.com page, Sinise writes, "For me, faith has been a catalyst for my mission to honour the men and women who serve in our nation's military. When I accepted the invitation to speak at the Legatus conference about Veterans issues and share my story, I was unaware of the controversy surrounding some of the participants, and their views on personal matters. I don't want my mission - which is designed to be unifying - to be disrupted by these, or any controversies, and therefore have decided to withdraw."

The actor, who played a war-wounded serviceman in Forrest Gump, has long supported veterans' organisations and dedicated much of his time to helping troops and their families, even setting up a self-titled foundation to help those in need.