FL Top Lawyer relied on discredited witness in adoption case
(MIAMI) - George Rekers, the "expert" witness hired by Attorney General Bill McCollum to defend Florida's anti-gay adoption ban has been caught with a male prostitute at the Miami airport, according to the Miami New Times.
McCollum paid Rekers and a colleague t$87,000 for testimony that called gay people mentally unstable and advised that the ban should be expanded to include Native Americans because, Rekers claimed, they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse.
“They would tend to hang around each other,” Rekers testified. “So the children would be around a lot of other Native Americans who are … doing the same sorts of things.”
This latest controversy may shed new light on how outrageously bias and scientifically unsupported Rekers' testimony has been, said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida.
"It is disgraceful that the attorney general used taxpayer dollars to compensate this discredited bigot-for-hire," said Smith. "It shows just how low they have to scrape to find anyone even willing to defend this awful ban that denies children permanent loving homes."
According to the Miami New Times Reker contacted an escort via a website called Rentboy.com:
That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America 's most prominent anti-gay activists.
This is just the latest in a long string of controversies with Rekers at the center.
He is the founder of the rabidly anti-gay Family Research Council and serves on the board of directors for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which advocates “reparative therapy” to turn gays straight, a controversial practice strongly discouraged by the American Psychological Association.
As a paid witness, Reker relies on long-discredited research to justify banning gay people from adopted and dismisses numerous studies suggesting that children of gay parents are no worse off than those of straight parents, testifying that he opposes gay parenting even if it flies in the face of scientific research.
In court, Rekers said that he favored removing children from any gay home in favor of a straight home, even if the child had been there 10 years.
In an article form 2005, Reker compares allowing gay people seeking to adopt to terrorists and drug dealers:
“This is not basically different from denying placement in other households with structures that are not in the best interests of children. Fifteen-year-old couples, 90-year-old couples, Thai-language-only speaking couples, blind and deaf parents, households with a pedophilic-behaving adult, households with practicing criminals, households with drug dealers and drug abusers, households with unemployed adults, households that advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government, households with an active terrorist, households with sexually promiscuous unmarried men and women co-habitating and households with homosexually behaving adults all have either inherent instability or inherent disadvantage, stress, and potential harm to placed children.”
On Nov. 25, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman struck down the adoption ban calling “illogical to the point of irrationality" and allowed Frank Gill to adopt two children he had foster parented for six years.
Reker and his equally anti-gay colleague Walter Schum were the only witnesses the state bothered to call. The ACLU, representing Frank Gill and his sons, filled the courtroom with child welfare experts and adoption and foster care specialists who testified that denying the adoption and removing the boys would inflict harm on the children.
The Orlando Weekly covered that testimony in detail:
Yves Francois, the adoption supervisor for the Center for Family and Child Enrichment – a DCF subcontractor that acts as an adoption agency – testified that Gill and Roe met all the criteria for adoption but one, their sexual orientation. If their adoption request was denied, he said, the CFCE would keep looking, and in all likelihood, the siblings would end up being separated. To date, no one else has applied to adopt James and John.
In her ruling, Lederman dismissed testimony from Rekers describing it as biased. “Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions., she wrote. "The court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”