An Ohio State alumnus and Maumee, Ohio, judge has apologized after homophobic letters published in The Lantern 27 years ago resurfaced and circulated in news reports.
One letter written by Judge Dan Hazard, which was published April 30, 1993, asks the gay community to “please keep your AIDS to yourself” and refers to gay people as “unethical and immoral.”
Hazard said in an email Thursday that his views have drastically changed and he does not hold the same beliefs today.
“I have zero excuse and could not attempt to justify it then or now,” he said in the email. “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 transgender family and friends whom I love dearly.”
In another letter published Dec. 2, 1992, Hazard suggested cutting AIDS funding because “95% of those inflicted with the deadly disease pretty much deserve it anyway.”
“I am homophobic because I am afraid for the future of this nation,” he said in the letter.
Hazard was a second-year at the time of the letters, according to Lantern archives.
The letter was published in the reader forum, in which Lantern readers could submit letters to the editor to be published. It is not clear what editorial standards or procedure The Lantern followed before publishing these letters or others.
According to Lantern archives, The Lantern could not publish all letters due to space limitations and reserved the right to edit for length and clarity. Letters of 300 words or less received preference.
Currently, The Lantern does not offer a reader forum.
The April letter was titled “Look who’s back” and written following the April 25, 1993, March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.
“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,” Hazard wrote in the letter.
In the letter, Hazard said he “can now see what this campus could be like with the removal of gays from our society.”
In his email, Hazard called the letter reprehensible and deplorable. He said that he has represented gay clients and one of the first weddings he officiated was for a same-sex couple.
“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,” he said.