In a letter published Wednesday in the Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise, Rexburg, Idaho, Mayor Shawn Larsen said the national publicity generated by the story resulted in "numerous e-mails from individuals around the country associating our community with hate and intolerance.
"I am extremely sorry that this incident occurred, and I do not believe that it reflects the values which make our community a great place to live and raise a family."
Larsen admitted Rexburg and the surrounding areas of eastern Idaho have a reputation as being one of the United States' most politically conservative areas.
"This reputation and the conservative nature of our community should in no unequivocal terms be an excuse for hate and vile comments," Larsen wrote. "Parents must realize that things said in anger or even in jest can have lasting repercussions not only damaging young hearts and minds, but a city's reputation."