Jim Cleveland, a Georgia city councilman, decided to resign last Tuesday after critics accused him of racism. The councilman was under fire after he expressed opposition to interracial marriage.

The Hoschton City councilman made his decision because he wanted to leave his office on his own terms. With his move, Jim Cleveland will avoid facing voters in next month’s recall election.

The councilman submitted his resignation letter as he does not want his critics to be able to claim that they caused his ouster. “I’m not going to give them the pleasure of saying they recalled Mr. Cleveland,” he told AJC.

The latest development came after unproven claims surfaced that the city’s mayor Theresa Kenerly sidetrack a black applicant for the city administrator post because of his race. Jim Cleveland, however, supported the mayor’s decision. He also expressed his opposition to interracial marriage and reportedly stated that seeing blacks and whites on TV “makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”

Despite how things turned out, Cleveland said that the events don’t change the way he views himself. “I am still, in my opinion, a respected member of this community,” he told ABC. “I have more people, I believe, that feel the way I do about everything.”

In addition, Cleveland clarified to the outlet that he is not a racist. In fact, he has a lot of friends from different racial backgrounds, which proves his point.

“They are calling me a racist and I don't consider myself a racist and I'll tell you why,” the councilman added. “I have very good friends that are black. I have Spanish, Asians, all kinds of members in my church, and none of them consider me a racist.”

Contrary to previous reports, Jim Cleveland said that he does not consider his religious belief as a hindrance to how he deals with people from different races. “I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and I have been taught to believe, and it makes a lot of sense to me, that God created all these different races and if he had wanted them all commingled into one race, he would have done it himself,” he explained.