SPRINGFIELD, MO – Outrage over a prominent southwest Missouri attorney’s letter denouncing equality efforts at the Ozark Fire Department has brought about an apology in less than 24 hours.


The Springfield News-Leader reports that Dee Wampler, a well-known Defense Attorney apologized for the missive, admitting the letter was “harsh” in nature.


"My recent words in support of a local fire board decision, expressing that view should have been left unsaid and were harsh and ill-advised," he wrote. "I did not intend to personally demean, but I am man enough to apologize to all those I have offended, and I ask all to accept my apology."


Wampler sent a letter, dated Sept. 11, to several individuals regarding same-sex benefits within the Ozark Fire Department, including Capt. Andi Mooneyham, an Ozark firefighter who recently petitioned for health benefits for her wife and other same-sex couples who work for the department now and in the future.


Wampler shares a law practice and letterhead with Attorney Joseph Passanise, campaign treasurer for Republican State Auditor Tom Schweich, prompting a letter demanding Schweich’s denunciation of the anti-LGBT tone from PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. At this writing, Schweich has yet to issue a statement.


Last month, The Ozark Fire Department declined to allow same-sex benefits for Mooneyham and others after board attorney Todd Johnson wrote a letter stating ‘Missouri's constitution, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, does not allow the policy change.’


According to the Department, three of the five fire board members supported changing the policy.





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