Did George Rekers violate Florida’s gay adoptions ban? **UPDATE: McCollum responds

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (left) and his chief expert witness George Rekers (right)

UPDATED: Lost in the blizzard of media reports (and comedy) about ant-gay adoptions psychologist George Rekers and his young, male travel companion is the fact that Rekers, who was Florida A.G. Bill McCollum’s go-to expert witness, paid $60,000 $120,000 of the $87,000 more than $150,000 given to two “experts” who testified in support of Florida’s gay adoptions ban, is himself an adoptive parent.

Rekers adopted a 16-year-old boy four years ago, and according to the prostitute he hired, has fostered children in the past. And now that “Lucien” whose name actually has been put on blast all over the Internet, along with lots of pictures, has confirmed that to his mind, Rekers is gay (and enjoys the occasional erotic massage,) isn’t it also the case that Rekers adopted that son of his in violation of Florida law? And shouldn’t Bill McCollum, Florida’s chief law enforcement official, look into that? 

Rekers is now threatening to sue over the gay accusations (though a certain surreptitiously taped phone call might make the discovery process uncomfortable) while McCollum’s minions are furiously scrubbing all references to the Rekers controversy from his Facebook page, and threatening to ban anyone who posts links to stories like this one.

There is some sympathy for Rekers out there, from people who can relate to his closeted state. But not much. Rekers is considered a lynchpin of the Christian right’s push to bar gays from adopting, so he’s a particularly juicy target. As RawStory points out:

Rekers is a prominent advocate against gays in Florida, where he resides. He testified against Florida allowing gay couples to adopt, asserting that children of gay couples “living with a practicing homosexual in the adoptive home,” are especially “vulnerable to psychological damage and an increasing inability to adapt.”

A commenter on a California Catholic daily, which reported the findings of Rekers’ investigations into gay adoption, remarked, “The active principle in these children’s stress is the fact that their welfare comes in dead last in the homosexual lifestyle – it is oriented toward grooming them for traumatic early sexualization and exploitation by adults.”

Well it happens that “Lucien” is about the same age as the son Mr. Rekers has been raising for the last four years. His own testimony makes it almost axiomatic that his own adoption, and his prior fostering of children, should be looked into, not because of his apparent sexual orientation, which studies show isn’t predictive of abuse behavior, but because of even the remote possibility that Mr. Rekers’ “expertise” stemmed from personal demons, rather than professional insight. Besides, as columnist Scott Maxwell points out:

.. if he was once again lending his “expertise” to Bill McCollum and the fine taxpayers of Florida, do you think Dr. Rekers would gleefully recommend adoption rights to an adult who had just finished taking a 10-day vacation with a gay hooker he hired for luggage help?

Meanwhile, Rekers’ own side is dumping him, but quick. And Equality Florida, a local gay rights group, is demanding that McCollum apologize to the gay community for using taxpayer funds to hire Reker.

BTW, the judge who heard Rekers’ testimony ruled against McCollum’s position and ruled the state’s gay adoptions ban unconstitutional. But the case is still on appeal.

Scott Maxwell obtained this response from the A.G.’s office:

Dr. Rekers, a professor emeritus from University of South Carolina and a neuropsychologist with a degree from UCLA, came to our attention by recommendation from another academic after an exhaustive search for potential expert witnesses who were willing to testify. Dr. Rekers had exceptional credentials and he had provided testimony in similar cases on two separate occasions, one of which was a Florida case in Federal Court.

The contract was executed at the direction of the Department of Children and Families, and the ACLU did not object to his position as an expert at the hearing. He has completed his testimony and is no longer involved in this case.”

Hat tip to Joe My God.

Meanwhile, Team McCollum has completely lost control of the Facebook page.

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3 Responses to Did George Rekers violate Florida’s gay adoptions ban? **UPDATE: McCollum responds

  1. Pingback: Together: Why the George Rekers Story Matters « The Grotto Blog

  2. Todd says:

    The Attorney General’s office needs to square its current statement with this report from 2008

    “From the outset, the state was in a weird position,” says Rosenwald, the ACLU attorney. “It only got more complicated when they tried to find experts. They were looking for serious scientists. They were told no serious scientists would testify on their behalf.”

    Indeed, Rekers and Schumm stand diametrically opposed to the position of the American Psychological Association, which in 2004 put out a statement in support of gay parenting.

    From a political perspective, that explanation makes sense. DCF’s leader is George Sheldon, a lifelong Democrat who has enjoyed a good relationship with the gay community since the 1980s, when he served in the Florida Legislature. Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, on the other hand, is a conservative eyeing a U.S. Senate seat in 2010.

    It’s unclear who developed the state’s strategy. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said its lawyers took their cues from DCF. DCF’s spokeswoman offered another perspective: “I’m going to have to say it came from the attorney general’s office in terms of legal strategy,” says Sarrah Troncoso. “I would have to defer to them.”

    http://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/story.asp?id=12830

  3. It’s maddening that, despite boasting several progressive, metro areas and a prominent gay community responsible for world class events like Orlando’s Gay Days, Miami’s White Party, and Tampa’s International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Florida’s political appointees may as well be wearing white robes and pointy hats.

    If Florida’s wealthy, powerful gay population could spend half as much time organizing and raising funds, AND COOPERATING WITH EACH OTHER, to clean this filth out of Tallahassee as it does on parties, it might not be such a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

    Shame.

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