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Board of Regents appointee’s remarks on gays stir controversy in Senate

Jay Heiler (File photo)

The state Senate has voted to confirm Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s appointment of Jay Heiler to the Arizona Board of Regents, with Democrats saying they’re troubled by his past remarks about gays.

Democrats said during Wednesday’s party line vote they aren’t satisfied that the prominent Republican attorney-lobbyist had adequately atoned.

Republicans defended Heiler, saying he should not be judged today by comments made many years ago.

The comments included referring to homosexuality as an “aberration” in an early 1980s article while a university student. He called gays “queers” while talking with news reporters in 1994 while a gubernatorial aide.

Heiler has said he would not make the remarks today and that he has grown since he made them and now believes all Arizonans need to live in harmony together.

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