Bill McCollum's gay-rights clock stuck in 1977
From the Palm Beach Post:
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
I'm pretty confident that Bill McCollum is for gay adoption.
Just not this year. Or anytime soon.
That's because the social justice clock of Florida's attorney general runs slow, at least a generation slow.
He has only just gotten around to gushing about how Martin Luther King's "message of freedom, equality and civil justice for all still resonates across our great nation."
It wasn't resonating as much for McCollum back in 1983 when he voted against the establishment of a Martin Luther King holiday, or five years later, when he was one of only 42 U.S. House members to vote against an effort to promote the King holiday.
MLK's words resonate … finally
Flash forward to this week, and McCollum is resonating like a human tuning fork about spreading King's message.
"Dr. King's words and deeds remind us we must continue to address the challenges we still face today," McCollum said in a prepared statement.
McCollum now says his former votes against the King holiday were mistakes made in the name of saving money. And I think we should take him at his word, and also not be surprised that while McCollum is urging us to "address the challenges" of civil rights today, he is actively fighting against today's civil rights issue.
Florida is the only state that expressly forbids gay people to adopt children. It's legal in Florida for gay people to be permanent foster parents, but they can't adopt. Why? Because at the height of Anita Bryant's crusade against gay rights, the state legislature fell squarely on the side of bigotry and passed a gay-adoption ban.
And Bill McCollum's gay-rights clock still says 1977.
Once again, I can't blame him. McCollum, who is running for governor, has learned that you can't be too homo phobic if you want to win a Republican primary in Florida. Six years ago, he was skewered in an ad by Mel Martinez for bowing to the "radical homosexual lobby" over support for hate-crime legislation.
Slow march to enlightenment
So it's no wonder that McCollum is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Christian Coalition of South Florida today in attempting to overturn a 2008 court ruling that called the gay-adoption ban unconstitutional.
The case was brought by Martin Gill, a North Miami man who was given foster care of two neglected brothers six years ago. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Gill challenged the law, and 14 months ago, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman held a trial.
"It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent," Lederman ruled.
In appealing the judge's ruling, McCollum's office has sided with the flat-Earth crowd who clings to the non-scientific fantasy that homosexuality is a "treatable condition" akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder and alcoholism.
It's the sort of quackery that the American Psychiatric Association dismissed in 1973.
But that was only 37 years ago. Still way too soon to register on McCollum, whose social enlightenment is on the slowest of marches.