Dan Hazard, a Maumee Municipal Court judge in Ohio, has apologized to the LGBTQ community after letters he wrote while in college calling gays “savages” who “pretty much deserve” to die of AIDS came to light this week.
Toledo’s local CBS News affiliate WTOL first reported the letters which appeared in the student newspaper at Ohio State University in 1992 and 1993.
The first letter to the editor, published December 2, 1992, he referenced gay people as ‘citizens’ (note the scare quotes) seeking equal treatment under the law.
“There has been a recent outcry on the behalf of these ‘citizens’ for equal treatment under the law,” wrote Hazard as a sophomore at OSU. “Equal treatment for people that many still think of as savages … These people think they deserve equal treatment under the law. I challenge anyone to name any civilized nation that looks at queers as ‘normal’ human beings. There just aren’t any.”
He also decried calls by the LGBTQ community for funding HIV research.
He wrote, “I suggest we cut all AIDS research funding (not AIDS education) because 95% of those inflicted with the deadly disease pretty much deserve it anyway (the homosexual community).”
About five months later, after the Gay Rights March on Washington on April 25, 1993, he penned a second letter to the editor that appeared in the April 30 edition of the student newspaper.
In that missive, he gave thanks “to the homosexual community for opening (his) eyes.” Noting that many gays had left the campus for the Washington event, he could “now see what this campus would be like with the removal of gays from our society.”
Addressing the “heterophobes polluting this campus,” he asked, “Is the homosexual lifestyle a safe one?”
He went on to quote statistics from the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council which stated the average life span of homosexuals from diseases other than AIDS was 41, something he said was “good news.”
Hazard also implored gays to “please keep your AIDS to yourselves” and added, “You have killed many innocent children.”
When contacted by WTOL for comment, Hazard issued a direct apology.
Calling his own words “reprehensible” and “deplorable,” he says they don’t represent who he is today.
Here’s his full statement:
“The letter posted here was reprehensible and deplorable. I wrote this and another of the same tone as a teenage college student 27 years ago and by no means hold those beliefs today. I have zero excuse and could not attempt to justify it then or now. It was hurtful to anyone that saw it in 1993 or today. I am sorry that it will hurt even more people today including my gay and transgendered family and friends whom I love dearly.
Throughout my career, I have befriended and represented many gay clients. I have done so zealously without reservation. One of the first weddings I officiated after taking the bench was of a same sex couple. I did so with respect and dignity. Every day I treat every litigant and attorney with that same respect no matter their background, experience or gender identity and will continue to do so.
I am glad that this allows me to clarify my views that have drastically changed over time. Respect is owed not only in the courtroom, but in all of society.”
I wanted to note that it caught this writer’s ear while watching the WTOL report that news anchor Andrew Kinsey referred to Hazard’s remarks saying “some call homophobic.”
Hazard had called gays “savages” who “deserved” to get AIDS and die. I think that’s straight-up homophobic language.
What do you think, readers? Is the apology acceptable given the 27 years since Hazard made the comments? And that he offers such a strenuous mea culpa?
Or was the language so strident it’s difficult to believe he did a 180-degree turn from those noxious attitudes?
Let us know what you think in the comment section.