LA GRANDE — The mayor of an eastern Oregon town has apologized for two Facebook posts in which he criticized gay marriage and same-sex unions.

LA GRANDE — The mayor of an eastern Oregon town has apologized for two Facebook posts in which he criticized gay marriage and same-sex unions.

In one post last week, LaGrande Mayor Daniel Pokorney called Washington the "latest state to transition to Sodom and Gomorrah." In another, he criticized New Jersey for continuing what he called the "abomination of same sex unions."

Washington legalized gay marriage this month. New Jersey has granted the legal protections under the label of civil unions rather than marriage.

Eastern Oregon University students asked for a meeting with the mayor after the comments.

Pokorney told a forum of about 150 people at the university on Monday that he didn't want to put the city in a bad light and had only wanted to express himself on important issues, the La Grande Observer reported.

"I sincerely apologize for my choice of words in the two Facebook posts last week," he said. "My choice of words was harmful and hurtful. I don't hate anyone."

Some at the forum used the word "hate" in describing the posts. Others defended Pokorney's right to make the comments, and many said it was inappropriate for an elected official to speak in such a manner.

"I appreciate the apology, but when I look at the mayor of La Grande, I see the representation of La Grande," student Michael Cooper said. "If I work for a bank and go out and state my opinions in the street, I know I'm representing my company."