BIG + RICH star John Rich has apologised for his recent controversial comments on gay marriage, insisting his views were not properly clarified. The country singer caused tension earlier this month (Oct07) when he dismissed same-sex unions as "pretty unsavoury". In an interview with The Tennessean, he said: "I think if you legalise that (gay marriage), you've got to legalise some other things that are pretty unsavoury. "You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can't marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can't get married, but something else that's unnatural can happen?" But Rich has now retracted his offensive remarks in a newly-released statement, in which he blames his Christian upbringing as the reason for his earlier outburst. He says, "My earlier comments on same-sex marriage don't reflect my full views on the broader issues regarding tolerance and the treatment of gays and lesbians in our society. I apologise for that and wish to state clearly my views. "I oppose same-sex marriage because my father and minister brought me up to believe that marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. However, I also believe that intolerance, bigotry and hatred are wrong. "People should be judged based on their merits, not on their sexual orientation. We are all children of God and should be valued and respected."