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Tom Hanks Apologizes for Calling Mormon Support of Prop 8 'Un-American'

01/23/2009 at 02:10 PM EST

Tom Hanks Apologizes for Calling Mormon Support of Prop 8 'Un-American'
Tom Hanks
Jeff Vespa/WireImage.
Tom Hanks is rethinking his comments about Mormons who supported Proposition 8.

Last week, the star, who is an executive producer for HBO's controversial series Big Love about a group of polygamist Mormons, spoke out about the religious group's involvement in passing the California law, which bans same-sex marriage.

"The truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen," Hanks told Foxnews.com at the show's premiere in Los Angeles last Wednesday. "There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them."

A spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Kim Farah, took offense at Hanks's comments, telling FOX News, "Expressing an opinion in a free and democratic society is as American as it gets."

Now, in a exclusive statement to PEOPLE through his representative Leslee Dart, Hanks is softening his stance.

Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California's Proposition 8 as "un-American." I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination. But everyone has a right to vote their conscience – nothing could be more American. To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are "un-American" creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement. No one should use "un- American" lightly or in haste. I did. I should not have.
Sincerely,
Tom Hanks.

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