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University of Oklahoma regent apologies for anti-gay remarks

December 19, 2017

Troy Stevenson, right, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, was joined by former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys, left, at a morning news conference Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, to announce future efforts to work together in an effort to resolve differences that began when Humphreys made comments on a local news talk show that many in the Oklahoma City community regarded as offensive. At right is Garland Pruitt with the local branch of NAACP. The brief news conference was held in a conference room adjoining the offices of Freedom Oklahoma. Freedom Oklahoma is an organization that advocates for LGBTQ causes and issues. (Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A University of Oklahoma regent who likened gay people to pedophiles publicly apologized Tuesday during an appearance with the head of an LGBTQ advocacy group and reiterated that he doesn’t plan to resign.

Kirk Humphreys, a real estate developer and former Oklahoma City mayor, said his comments during an Oklahoma City public affairs TV show that aired Dec. 10 went “off the rails” and that he regrets hurting people.

“Some of the things I said do not reflect what I believe or the way I have tried to live,” Humphreys said, reading from a statement. “Let me be clear, I do not think that homosexuality in any way disqualifies a person from full participation as a citizen in our community, including service in public office.”

Humphreys said he doesn’t plan to resign from the university’s board of regents or from the board of Oklahoma City-based utility OGE Energy Corp. He also intends to continue serving as a member of the John Rex Charter Elementary School in Oklahoma City, despite calls to resign from some parents of children at the school.

Humphreys was flanked by Freedom Oklahoma Director Troy Stevenson and J.D. Baker, the student body president at OU, neither of whom renewed their call for Humphreys to resign from the board of regents. The two said Humphreys plans to participate in a community forum with students next month at the university.

But Stevenson said conversations are ongoing about whether Humphreys will become the next chairman of the board of regents, which scheduled a special meeting on Thursday to discuss “any board member(s) as it may pertain to board leadership positions.”

“While it is vital that when we make mistakes we be allowed to apologize ... there are consequences for our actions, and I believe there should be consequences for these,” Stevenson said.

The board of regents currently is led by Clay Bennett, who owns the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and who has said he disagrees with Humphrey’s views. The panel is searching for a new president to replace David Boren, a former governor and U.S. senator who has served as OU’s president since 1994 but is retiring in June.

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Follow Sean Murphy at https://twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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