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Ohio Judge Apologizes For Writing Old Article That Calls Gay People 'Savages' And Says People With HIV 'Deserve' To Die

Ohio Judge Apologizes For Writing Old Article That Calls Gay People 'Savages' And Says People With HIV 'Deserve' To Die
WTOL 11/YouTube

A Municipal Court judge's homophobic past caught up with him when the essays he wrote as a sophomore college student bashing homosexuals recently resurfaced.

Ashamed of the vitriol he disseminated while he was an Ohio State University student in the '90s, Ohio judge Dan Hazard penned a lengthy apology to the LGBTQ community.

He expressed that his hateful letter does not reflect the person he is today.

The resurfaced archival letters—in which Hazard referred to homosexuals as "savages"—were originally published in 1992 and 1993 in the university's paper, The Lantern.

You can watch the WTOL 11 news report here.

In the first letter, Hazard made his declaration about gays and justified his identity as a "homophobe" out of concern for the future of America.

"My name is Dan Hazard and I am also homophobic. This phobia is not so much a personal one, but a fear for the future of this great nation we call God's country."
"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."
"Homosexuals squeal for money and AIDS treatment. I suggest we cut all AIDS research funding (not AIDS education) because 95 percent of those inflicted with the deadly disease pretty much deserve it anyway."

He wrote a second letter published in April 1993, just after the gay rights march in Washington, and cited the Family Research Council—a group which publishes pseudoscience research to advocate legel bigotryfor marriages to remain between a man and a woman – and asserted his belief that the homosexual lifestyle was not a safe one.

He then proceeded to beg homosexuals to "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."

On Thursday, Hazard wrote an apology obtained by the Toledo Blade and admitted his words were "reprehensible" and "deplorable," and acknowledged that there is no excuse for the hurt he caused the community.

"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."

Equality Toledo executive director Sheena Barnes commented on Hazard's letter of apology as a reflection of the ongoing fight against LGBTQ stereotypes and discrimination.

"Despite the years that have passed, the words are still deeply harmful to our community."
"This article still showcases the hatred and stereotypes the LGBTQ community fights against today in 2020."
"We understand the judge recognized his thoughts as harmful, and we welcome him and his staffers to stop by our office for training or conversation."

Some members of the community did not let Hazard off the hook for his scathing words, even if they were from the past.

Rob Salem – a law professor and member of the Toledo LGBTQ Bar Council – appreciated Hazard's letter and encouraged the community to show the beleaguered judge some clemency.

"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."
"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."

Hazard was a lawyer for 16 years before being elected judge in 2017.

Although the judge's seat is nonpartisan, Hazard is registered as a Republican, according to online voter records.