You’ve heard about it, now here it is: the famous letter written by Wayne Anthony Ross to the Alaska Bar Association and published in the Alaska Bar Rag in the early 1990s (turns out it was 1993) which referred to LGBTQ Alaskans as “degenerates.” My friend Steve passed it to me earlier today after an AK Bar staff member found it for him.
This is the full PDF that was provided to Steve, which included Mr. Ross’ response to the creation of an ad hoc group called Lawyers Against Discrimination chaired by John Suddock. The group was formed to attempt to prevent repeal of an ordinance, which had recently passed in the Anchorage Assembly, that prohibited the Municipality of Anchorage and municipal contractors from employment discrimination on the basis of “sexual preference.” It was a big messy battle in Anchorage in late 1992/early 1993 in Anchorage. The ordinance was ultimately repealed. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (or preference) remains legal in Anchorage, as in the rest of the state.
The attached Acrobat .pdf document is page 7 of the May-June 1993 of the Alaska Bar Rag, a publication of the Alaska Bar Association. The content under the general heading of Anchorage debates gay rights ordinance includes:
- John Suddock’s announcement of the formation of Lawyers Against Discrimination;
- Wayne Anthony Ross’ responding letter (which starts with Mr. Ross sneering at the group’s acronym LAD), written on March 19, 1993; and
- a response to Mr. Ross’ letter by Jeffrey M. Feldman, a member of the group.
A portion of the page including only Mr. Ross’ letter was posted earlier today at Progressive Alaska; a commenter there asked someone for a PDF of the entire page including Mr. Feldman’s response — that’s what I’m responding to with this post. (I saw a copy earlier at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, I think, but I can’t find it right now, so I’m just doing it myself).
Please note that the page is wider than letter-size, so if you want to print it out, you’ll need to adjust your printer somehow.
Bent Alaska has posted a transcription of Mr. Ross’ letter (though not John Suddock’s or Jeffrey Feldman’s stuff, so read it in the PDF). Here’s what Mr. Ross had to say:
Dear LAD: (LAD??? Intentional, on your part? Or merely a Freudian slip?)
I received your letter of 23 February 1993 regarding the Anchorage homosexual rights ordinance. While I am not surprised to see some of the names on your letterhead, I am most disappointed in other names thereon. I had more respect for some of you than I do now.
I am in favor of repeal of the measure. I see nothing involving civil rights in this matter. We all, heterosexual or homosexual, have certain rights. This bill seems to give extra rights to a group whose lifestyle was a crime only a few years ago, and whose beliefs are certainly immoral in the eyes of anyone with some semblance of intelligence and moral character.
It is a shame that you folks don’t have some causes you could become involved in that are of benefit to society in general. Instead, you support degenerates. No wonder the legal profession is treated with less respect than we wish.
If, as you apparently believe, morality is not based on long-standing God-given and God-instilled principles, but is something that changes from time to time based on public perception of right and wrong, then that is even more reason for you to allow this referendum to go to a vote of the people. After all, isn’t it your position that public morality is based upon whatever the public decides?
None of you has done anything publicly (to my knowledge) to attempt to protect the millions of lives of innocent children killed each year through abortion, yet you collectively contribute $5,000 to the cause of sexual perversion. It is quite disheartening to me to see my fellow members of our honorable profession display such a lack of proper priorities.
Wayne Anthony Ross
Nowadays, instead of being immoral, degenerates, and alleged practitioners of sexual perversion, we’re just… well… lima beans. Which Wayne Anthony Ross hates.