MAUMEE, Ohio — A Maumee judge apologized Wednesday after a homophobic column he wrote in his college newspaper resurfaced.
The article begins, "I would like to give my thanks to the homosexual community for opening my eyes. I now see what this campus could be like with the removal of gays from our society."
Now, Judge Dan Hazard is saying he's sorry, and the column he wrote as a college sophomore doesn't represent who he is today.
The article is in the April 30th 1993 edition of the Ohio State University's student paper "The Lantern," pulled directly from the paper's archives.
It was less than a week after a large LGBTQ Walk on Washington that Hazard mentions in the article.
It cites statistics from the Family Research Council, a group that continues to advocate for marriage to be between one man and one woman, and said it does not consider homosexuality an "acceptable alternative lifestyle."
The column ends with Hazard asking the gay community to "please keep your AIDS to yourselves" saying homosexuals are responsible for killing many innocent children and some adults with the disease.
Judge Hazard sent a response by email this morning that said "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," Hazard said.
He goes on to say that one of the first marriages he officiated behind the bench was for a same-sex couple and that he treats every litigant and attorney with the same respect regardless of their background.
Hazard ends with "Respect is owed not only in the courtroom, but in all of society."
Below is the full response from Judge Hazard:
"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."
Rob Salem, law professor and member of the Toledo LGBTQ Bar Council, credited Hazard for issuing an apology, but also acknowledged some skeptical members of the community.
"I will give credit to the judge for apologizing and expressing his remorse. People do change. I do think we need to be a little more benevolent and forgiving," Salem said. "You can't blame members of the LGBT community for being skeptical and suspicious because you know, the community has been subjected to so much discrimination and so much hatred."
"I think he did the right thing. I think it does cause concern or should still cause some concern for LGBT people who appear in his courtroom."
Below is the transcript of the original article:
"I wish to give my thanks to the homosexual community for opening my eyes. I now see what this campus could be like with the removal of gays from our society. No more worry of harassment in the Ohio Union or the Oval, no more second guessing the sexual preference of the person standing next to you, and no worries that a cut on the arm in a pickup game of football could lead to infection of the AIDS virus. With most of them gone this past weekend, it doesn’t matter if the 300,000 in Washington was a success or not, it was a success here on campus. But that is beside the point, I am writing to ask one question and hopefully to enlighten some of the heterophobes polluting this campus.
Is the homosexual lifestyle a safe one? Recent data from the District of Columbia Family Research Council may prove that it is not. Citing a number of experts and studies along with their own 5,200 obituary of 16 homosexual newspapers, the FR has determined that the average age of death for AIDS patients is 39 years of age. The average life span of homosexuals dying from all other causes is 41. One percent live to the age of 65. Yet these immoral and unethical people continue to smother the other 99 percent of us (the heterosexual majority) with their propaganda presenting the homosexual lifestyle as a safe and normal one. I see these stats as good news, but I beg the homosexual community one thing: Please keep your AIDS to yourselves. You have killed many innocent children, a few innocent adults (blood transfusions) and a number of not-so-innocent and irresponsible heterosexuals. Aren’t these deaths enough to draw attention to yourselves? Do you need to hold the country prisoner any longer with your lies and deceit?"
This is a developing story, WTOL will continue to update it as more information becomes available.