MARION, Ohio (WCMH) — A commencement speaker for a high school graduation in Marion County is facing criticism after making a speech encouraging only relationships between a man and a woman.

The speech occurred last week at River Valley High School in Caledonia, where alumnus Jim McGuire discussed the choice of a spouse.

“Choose a spouse, I suggest.” McGuire said in his speech. “I also strongly suggest to choose biblical principles, you know, a male with a female and a female with a male.”

McGuire’s comments sparked outrage on social media with one Facebook user posting the clip, calling it “hateful speech.”

“I’m sorry that this hateful speech overshadowed your amazing achievements and this incredibly special milestone in your lives.” wrote the Facebook user. “I know a lot of you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and I’m sure this man made you feel uncomfortable and unsafe.”

In an NBC News report, McGuire wrote in an email, “My speech was not anti-anything. There was not a negative word or statement in speech to anyone or organization. … Being positive is who I am.”

The school released a statement on May 31, saying, “The alumni speaker was not a member of the River Valley staff and he was not speaking as an official representative of River Valley Local Schools….we value all students, staff, and members of the Viking community.”