TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Apologetic remarks coming from a Florida lawmaker.

A Republican Florida representative who was criticized for his response to a suggestion that gay people be put to death says he regrets how his tone was received.

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When state Rep. Mike Hill met with constituents at Pensacola City Hall last month, one man said the Bible’s 1 Corinthians calls for a man having an affair with another man to be put to death. Another suggested introducing legislation to that effect and Hill joined the audience in chuckling.

Republican and Democratic officials denounced Hill’s reaction to the comments after a newspaper published an audio clip over the weekend.

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At first, Hill said no apology was needed and Tweeted “Your social media lynching is despicable. I never laughed at a joke about killing gays, and you know it. Your trash media has a history of attacking me.”

But in a statement Wednesday, Hill says “I deeply regret how the tone of my response to a constituent was received at this event. I believe that no matter one’s race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, economic status or otherwise, that all lives are created equal in the image of God. I served in the U.S. Air Force to protect the many freedoms we have in the United States for all Americans.

Hill also noted he is a Bible believing Christian and pointed out the passage does not say a man having an affair should be put to death, but “states people who practice various sins will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

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