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Posts for August, 2010

Rekers Failed To Lift McCollum’s Luggage

Jim Burroway

August 25th, 2010

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, the GOP establishment’s favorite in the race for governor, lost to former insurance executive Rick Scott in Florida’s GOP primary. He conceded the race at almost 1 a.m. via a press release.

“No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multimillionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida,” McCollum said.

“While I was disappointed with the negative tone of the race, I couldn’t be more proud of our campaign and our supporters for fighting back against false and misleading advertising when we were down by double-digits,” he added.

Among the more contentious issues in the race was McCollum’s hiring of anti-gay extremist George Rekers to the tune of more than $120,000 to serve as a star witness in a lawsuit challenging Florida’s adoption ban for gay couples. That fee was almost double the amount that had been agreed to in a Purchase Requisition between McCollum’s office and Rekers. The court found that Rekers testimony was “motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science,” and “the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.” Following the trial, Rekers was discovered returning from a European vacation in the company of a male escort. Rekers insisted that he didn’t hire the escort for sex, but needed someone to help him “lift his luggage” during their extended vacation.

McCollum defended his decision to hire Rekers, saying that he performed a “thorough search” for witnesses but “there wasn’t a whole lot of choice.”

McCollum lost the race 46%-43%, in a primary race that badly split the state Republican Party. Democrats were happy with Scott’s victory, seeing him as their preferred opponent going into November’s general election.

McCollum Overruled His Own Staff to Hire Rekers for Florida Case

Jim Burroway

June 4th, 2010

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is now a GOP candidate running for Florida’s governorship, overruled his own main attorney defending the state’s gay adoption ban, and hired the now disgraced anti-gay activists George Rekers for $120,693, according to new information published in today’s Miami Herald Tribune.

The e-mails released Thursday show that an attorney in McCollum’s own office warned against hiring Rekers, whose testimony had been deemed suspect in an earlier Arkansas lawsuit that challenged a ban on placing foster children in homes with gay parents. Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin wrote in a July 2007 e-mail that after talking to Arkansas officials and reviewing the background of the former University of South Carolina professor that she would “recommend NOT using him.”

E-mails also show that during a conference call Martin — who said the state considered more than 30 possible expert witnesses — was ordered to hire Rekers “against my strong cautions.”

Records show that the Department of Children and Families, which brought in the Attorney General’s office to defend the lawsuit, didn’t want to hire Rekers as an expert witness in the lawsuit because he wanted to charge $300 an hour. DCF only agreed to his hiring based on McCollum’s strong recommendations.

The noted anti-gay activist and “expert” witness was later discovered returning from a European vacation with a male escort hired from Rentboy.com. Rekers claims he hired Jo-Vanni Roman to help him “lift his luggage.”

Blankenhorn rejects Rekers association

Timothy Kincaid

May 24th, 2010

David Blankenhorn, the key witness for the supporters of Proposition 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is incensed over news reports that suggest that he relied on the claims of newly-disgraced Dr. George Rekers. He has written the following letter to the NY Times editor.

To the Editor:

“Scandal Stirs Legal Questions in Anti-Gay Cases” (news article, May 19) and “A Heaven-Sent Rent Boy,” by Frank Rich (column, May 16), suggest that my expert testimony in the California Proposition 8 trial on same-sex marriage was influenced by the writings of George Rekers, a psychologist and Baptist minister.

My expert report to the court — which was written entirely by me, includes a list of scholarly sources and is available for anyone to read — includes no mention of Mr. Rekers. And for good reason: I have never met Mr. Rekers or read any of his writings.

I recently learned that a separate, lawyer-generated document submitted to the court apparently does list an article by Mr. Rekers in connection with my testimony, but that document, on this point, is in error.

This matter is particularly important to me, since in my report to the court, as well as in my testimony on the stand, I clearly and emphatically rejected the anti-gay views that Mr. Rekers has apparently expressed.

David Blankenhorn
President
Institute for American Values
New York, May 19, 2010

Rekers’ Legacy Includes Attempted Suicide

Jim Burroway

May 17th, 2010

Before discredited anti-gay activist George Rekers was found to have hired a rentboy to “lift his luggage,” Rekers had been one of the major so-called “researchers” into the ostensible causes and cures of homosexuality. Rekers research, however was anything but impartial, taking as it does an a priori assumption that all homosexuality is disordered, and that, according to Rekers, it is always caused by improper parenting despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Those theories have led to Rekers’ adoption of abusive “therapies” and at least one attempted suicide.

A couple of weeks ago, Jeremy Hooper at GoodAsYou discovered a 1976 newspaper article describing UCLA’s “Gender Identity Clinic” which was jointly run by Drs. Ivar Lovaas and Rekers while Rekers was at the Fuller Theological Seminary. The article describes a series of aversion therapy experiments which were conducted on pre-pubertal elementary school-aged boys who showed signs of effeminate behavior and mannerisms. One four-year-old who entered the program in 1974, was identified as “Kraig.” That “treatment” had this effect after only “ten months of behavior modification which included spankings for wrong choices”:

He was, at the start, passive, non-assertive, allowed others to tease him. Now, he “regularly returns aggressiveness in his male-peer interactions.” In fact, the researchers write, Kraig’s mommy was alarmed at her son’s transformation into “a roughneck” — so reckless in play that he was hurting imself and damaging the furniture. The psychiatrists reassured the mother that her son’s “mild delinquent” behavior would be far easier to overcome in later years than effeminacy.

A competent therapist would have seen “Kraig’s” aggressive behavior as a classic warning sign. Abused children often become aggressive to the point of “delinquency.” But Rekers was no competent therapist, and instead held “Kraig” up as a poster-boy for his abusive treatments. The Miami New Times today reports that in 2001, there was a follow-up of “Kraig,” which showed the results of the abuse that he suffered.

At age 18, shamed by his childhood diagnosis and treatment, Rekers’s poster boy attempted suicide, according to Gender Shock, a book by journalist Phyllis Burke.

Rekers recently resigned from the National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH), where he was also a member of NARTH’s “Scientific Advisory Committee.” Another former member of NARTH’s advisory committee, Joseph Berger, in 2006 endorsed bullying and teasing of transgender children as a legitimate form of treatment. In a message posted to NARTH’s now-defunct blog, Berger wrote:

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world.

Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.

Birds of a feather…

New Times releases recording of first Rekers contact

Timothy Kincaid

May 14th, 2010

The New Times has released their recording of their first contact with Dr. George Rekers. Rekers’ story at the time was that he googled “travel companion” and that is how he found young Jo-vanni Roman.

Odd. When I just googled “travel companion”, I was not able to find any listings that included penis size or semi-nude pictures.

St. Petersburg Times Slams McCollom’s “Sleezy Deal” in Hiring Rekers

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2010

It’s rare to see an editorial filled with so much righteous anger, but this one really takes the prize:

Attorney General Bill McCollum and George Rekers have this in common: They were both happy to hire sleazy services, and they knew what they were getting for the money. Now both are having trouble explaining themselves.

That’s the opening gambit. The editorial board slams McCollum, who is now the GOP candidate for Florida governor, over his hiring Rekers as an “expert” witness” for the state’s defense of the gay adoption ban. McCollum ended up paying Rekers more than $120,000 for Rekers’ “expertise.” McCollum protested that he performed a thorough search for expert witnesses who would testify in support of the ban and that Rekers was the best he could find because “there wasn’t a whole lot of choice.” The paper retorted, “There was not a whole lot of choice because legitimate mental health professionals don’t share Rekers’ homophobic views, and Florida is the only state that bans adoptions by gay residents.”

Also, the paper points out that McCollumn’s search wasn’t all that thorough. Three years earlier, Rekers was blasted by an Arkansas court as “extremely suspect” and that he “was there to primarily to promote his own personal ideology.” Rekers tried to bilk Arkansas $200,000 for his services, but Arkansas paid “only” $60,000. As the Times concluded, Florida deserves a refund. “This is not the sort of sloppy staff work a Republican candidate for governor can easily defend,” they said.

What would a Rekers defamation suit bring about?

Timothy Kincaid

May 13th, 2010

Dr. George Rekers is threatening to sue “media outlets” for defamation, and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver has pledged to support him. But what exactly does he mean?

We have been told the following:

1. Rekers found Jo-Vanni Roman on RentBoy.com, a site designed to facilitate gay male prostitutes and their prospective johns finding each other.

2. Rekers contracted for Roman to accompany him to Europe. In addition to ‘luggage lifting’ services, the contract required that Roman spend a designated amount of time with Rekers and also “will provide George Rekers a massage for at least one hour each day of the trip in their shared rooms using the same procedures (“Lucien”) provided to George Rekers in Florida.” Roman has clarified the massages were nude, were sexual in nature, and that the procedures involved genital contact.

Interestingly, Rekers does not dispute – or even address – these details. He seems relatively unconcerned about providing clarification about the particulars of the massages or the origins of their first communication. Instead he has focused his attention, his objection, and his denial around one statement.

Rekers’ first mention of a defamation suit was on the 6th, right after the Miami New Times reported that Roman told them that Rekers “is a homosexual.”

“If today’s news story in the Miami New Times is accurate,” said Rekers in an e-mail to me, “I have been advised to retain the services of a defamation attorney in this matter, because the fact is that I am not gay and never have been.”

You may note that Rekers was not threatening defamation based on prior reporting, but on what had been claimed that day.

Then on the 11th, he reiterated his threat with a statement to NARTH.

“I am immediately resigning my membership in NARTH to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me. With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been.”

Considering the earlier accusations that the Miami New Times was engaging in “false impressions” and “misleading innuendo” and “incorrectly implying”, I think that a pattern has developed which helps clarify exactly what Rekers fears the most.

Dr. George Rekers does not want to be thought of as a homosexual.

He so objects to this that he is willing to file a defamation suit against anyone who claims, implies, or gives the impression that he is. And Liberty Counsel is willing to back him.

But why would Rekers and Staver focus solely on the identity and not on the facts as known? That is because Dr. George Rekers – and Liberty Counsel – define homosexuality differently than you or I.

We accept the concept of sexual orientation. We allocate people into categories based on the sex towards which their attractions point. If a person is primarily attracted to persons of the same sex, we identify them as homosexual. It’s just a matter of fact, and folks have little to no say in the matter.

But to Rekers, a homosexual is defined by his behavior. Those who engage in homosexual acts are homosexuals, and if one chooses to resist temptation, then one is not homosexual.

And Rekers seems to define “homosexual behavior” differently from most of us. It appears to me that he has established a line beyond which he will not go. Erotic massage is not “homosexual behavior”, while oral or anal sex clearly are. This way of thinking is evidenced in his statement to blogger Joe.my.god.

If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse… [emphasis added]

I suspect that Rekers believes himself to be truthful when he says that he did not engage in homosexual behavior and is not a homosexual. Under the definitions he and his community use, he may have submitted to his weaknesses, but he did not cross his line in behavior and he is actively choosing not to be a homosexual.

So if Rekers does sue, this will be a fascinating case. It will go far beyond the questions about who did what to whom, where, and in what state of undress. Rather, this case would hinge on the question, “How do you define homosexuality?”

If “homosexual behavior” is limited to insertive penile contact, and if “homosexual” is one who chooses to live a life centered around one’s same-sex attractions, then Rekers has a basis for his objections. But the court system is not an adjunct of the conservative evangelical Christian movement, and it is not subject to the carefully crafted language that allows Rekers a level of deniability.

Going forward with a defamation lawsuit is very risky for Rekers and Staver.

Defense will call witnesses from the mental health professions who will inform the court about modern thinking on matters of sexuality. They will witness that it is reasonable to use the term “homosexual” to describe a man who is erotically aroused by same-sex contact. They will provide testimony of Rekers’ behavior, of the sexual nature of his contact with Roman, and possibly even a record of his activity on the RentBoy site.

Rekers and his counsel will be left trying to defend their own peculiar definition of homosexuality, and arguing that the media be punished for not adopting their language. This would be a hard sell.

And, in the process, Dr. George Rekers runs the risk of having a court declare him to be homosexual. And that would be truly devastating for the anti-gay movement.

Rekers’ “Entrapment” Excuse

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2010

… was anticipated five years ago by The Onion (headline NSFW).

There is no such thing as parody anymore.

Liberty Counsel Accuses Jo-Vanni of Being An Irresistably Cute “Setup” for Rekers

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2010

The knives are out for Jo-vanni Roman, the Miami-based escort who accompanied disgraced anti-gay activist George Rekers on a ten-day trip to Europe so Roman could “lift Rekers’ luggage” — and provide daily nude massages. As an indication of how important Rekers’ downfall was to the anti-gay establishment, Matt Savers’ Liberty Counsel has agreed to back Rekers’ threat to sue Roman and media outlets for defamation. From this morning’s Washington Times:

Officials at the Liberty Counsel said Wednesday they would back Mr. Rekers if he followed through on his threat this week to sue media outlets and others for trying to discredit him.

“I think [Mr. Rekers] would have a great case to file a defamation action,” said Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel said.

“I think it was a completely arranged setup,” he said, referring to the presence of writers of the free weekly Miami New Times at Miami International Airport when Mr. Rekers and his hired travel companion arrived in the United States April 13.

…The Liberty Counsel’s Mr. Staver said he believes Mr. Rekers’ recent court appearances, in which the professor testified in favor of state bans on gay adoption, became “a major focus of people trying to discredit him as an individual.”

“I think that it’s the classic [tactic], ‘If you can’t destroy the message, you destroy the messenger,’ … and I think this is a personal attack designed to cast aspersions on his character and reputation,” Mr. Staver said.

You see? It’s all Jo-vanni’s fault. The “setup” occurred when Jo-vanni put his irresistible profile onto Rentboy.com. If he hadn’t have done that, Rekers never would have noticed him among all the other luggage lifters the web site had on offer. Jo-vanni was the only one who could pull this off. See?

Damn Jo-vanni, if being cute were a crime, we’d just have to call you convicted!

Sir Norman Fry had a better explanation

Timothy Kincaid

May 12th, 2010

In hearing the explanations, clarifications, and charges of defamation from Dr. George Rekers puts me in mind, for some reason, of Little Britain USA’s delightful skit involving Sir Norman Fry

YouTube Preview Image

Parts two and three are also quite fun.

Rekers Says He’s “Not Gay” Despite “Weaknesses”

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

The more Rekers speaks (or writes via email), the deeper he digs his hole. Earlier today Christianity Today followed up on George Rekers’ resignation from NARTH, in which, despite having paid an escort to, well, escort and nude-massage him through a ten-day trip to Europe, Rekers insists “I am not gay and never have been.” Sarah Pulliam Bailey got a follow-up statement from Rekers via email saying that he is currently receiving counselling from a team of three “Christian counsellors” (sound familiar?) “so I can more fully understand my weaknesses and prevent this kind of unwise decision-making in the future.”

What those weaknesses are, he would not say.  But just so you know, he’s not gay and never has been.

Meanwhile Rekers says his wife will be retiring soon and will accompany him on trips when their sons are unavailable.

McCollum Doubled Rekers’ Fee For Incompetent Witness Testimony

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

Steve Rothous at the Miami Times Herald explains how Florida Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum came to pay disgraced “luggagegate” activist George Rekers more than $120,000:

The 2008 purchase requisition to pay Rekers $60,900. Click to download PDF (1.5 MB/2 pages). Via Miami Herald.

Anti-gay psychologist George Rekers charged Florida $300 an hour to testify as an expert witness in a trial defending Florida’s ban on gay people adopting. The state planned to cap Rekers’ fee at $60,900 — but paid him $120,693 after he exceeded his contracted hours.

“It is not unusual for estimated costs to require adjustment during the course of trial preparation,” said Sandi Copes, communications director for the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

Copes said the extra hours were not agreed to in writing, but “merely by discussion.”

…A 2008 Florida purchase requisition states that no payment to Rekers should exceed $60,900.Florida paid Rekers $60,900 in 2007 and $59,793 in 2009 for his testimony in the case of Frank Gill, a gay foster parent seeking to adopt two young brothers. Florida is the only state that bans all gay people from adopting.

Among Rekers’ charges to the state of Florida:

• $27,000 (90 hours) to “evaluate and critique” new research.

• $5,400 (18 hours) to meet with staff at the Attorney General’s Office to prepare for deposition.

• $6,000 (20 hours) to standby at trial and deliver expert academic opinions.

The 2008 purchase requisition is available here (PDF: 1.5MB/2 pages). And what did they get for all that money? Testimony that the judge found Rekers’ testimony was “motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science.” The judge concluded: “Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”

McCollum personally selected Rekers to be the state’s star expert witness, claiming that “Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case.” A PDF of McCollum’s recommendation and his original suggestion that Rekers be capped at $100,000 is available here (164KB/2 pages). Given the judge’s evaluation of Rekers’ testimony, the sad fact is that McCollum may well have been right: Rekers probably was the best they could find, which speaks volumes about the so-called “expertise” of these anti-gay activists.

Leonard Pitts on Rekers: “There Is A Moral Crime Here”

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

Columnist Leonard Pitts notes that what George Rekers did was not without its victims:

If all this sounds like a rerun, that’s only because it is. Indeed, in recent years, the crusader against gay rights who is revealed to be secretly gay himself has become a “type,” ubiquitous to the point of cliché. The list includes disgraced evangelist Ted Haggard, the late former Spokane mayor James West, California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, Mel White, ghost writer for the likes of Jerry Falwell, who became a gay activist, and my personal favorite, Michael Bussee [hyperlink added], a founder of Exodus International, another group that purported to cure homosexuality. He gave it up when he fell in love with a guy named Gary Cooper.

As much free material as fellows like this provide for the likes of Jon Stewart and David Letterman, as perversely entertaining as it is to watch someone work out his private psychodrama in the public space, as fascinating as naked self-loathing can be, it is important to remember that this is not harmless.

To the contrary, there is a moral crime here. We are, after all, talking about men in positions of authority and reach, men who could make laws and influence public perception and who used that power against their own.

Put yourself in the shoes of the teenager, bewildered and frightened by these feelings he or she is not “supposed” to have, feelings of sexual attraction to people of the same gender. You try to deny them, try to ignore them, try to suppress them, but they will not go away. You are all alone, isolated behind a secret that presses down on you like weights, a fear of rejection that haunts you like ghosts.

And here comes Dr. Rekers telling you you are abnormal, telling you you are bad, telling you he can cure you, as if you had a disease like measles or the flu.

Then, in his off hours, after he’s done curing you, he’s trolling rentboy.com looking for young men to handle his, ahem . . . baggage.

NARTH and Rekers part ways

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2010

From the NARTH website:

“I am immediately resigning my membership in NARTH to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me. With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been.” –George A. Rekers, Ph.D.

NARTH has accepted Dr. Rekers’ resignation and would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation. We express our sincere sympathy to all individuals, regardless of their perspective, who have been injured by these events. We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH. NARTH continues to support scientific research, and to value client autonomy, client self-determination and client diversity.

Poor Dr. Rekers. He’s still convinced that going onto a website dedicated to connecting gay prostitutes with those wishing to procure their services, selecting a young man of 20, hiring him to give erotic massage, and then taking him on a 10 day trip in Europe during which he received daily erotic massages is somehow consistent with the claim that he has not “engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever.”

Delusion is a sad thing.

UPDATE: Prior to Rekers’ resignation, NARTH may have been involved with trying to control the story. (Miami New Times)

Lucien asked Rekers repeatedly if anyone else had been involved in the questionnaire. “Yeah, one of the guys who’s on the board of a professional organization with me,” Rekers said.

As Lucien kept digging for details, Rekers finally admitted that the “professional organization” was NARTH.

NARTH’s Pruden denies the claim.
Cuz, ya know, any advice given by NARTH members to Rekers wasn’t on the behalf of NARTH itself, you know.

Political fallout from Rekers’ rentboy exposure

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2010

When Dr. George Rekers was discovered returning from a 10 day European trip with a young man identified as a gay rentboy, the subsequent scandal ended his career as a advocate for anti-gay causes. Further, it added to the growing shared social understanding that ex-gay efforts are futile and based on pretense.

But although the damage to ex-gay and anti-gay efforts cannot be understated, the liabilities of this scandal are wider than could be expected. It appears that the fallout may extend to conservative politicians and may well derail the presumptive Republican nominee for Florida Governor.

In 2007, Frank Gill sued the state of Florida for the right to adopt the two small boys for whom he had become a foster father. Bill McCollum was attorney general at that time and it was his office which defended the state law that banned gay people from adopting.

The case was ideal for challenging the law. The two boys were non-responsive, suffering from untreated medical conditions, distrustful of everyone else and not bonded to any adults. Gill and his partner were ideal parents, and the turn-around in the boys’ socialization was nearly miraculous.

It was virtually impossible for McCollum’s office to convince any judge that it was in the best interest of these two boys that they be taken from the men with whom they had bonded and finally found a family. But McCollum’s office defended the law to the best of their ability. And the best of their ability included hiring Rekers to argue that gay men, on the whole, are less stable and are unfit parents.

Since the Rekers scandal broke, McCollum has sought to distance himself from Dr. Rekers, insisting that the selection and hiring of George Rekers was the decision of the Department of Children and Families, and that his office simply used the witness they selected.

But the Florida Tribune has now discovered that quite the opposite is true. The DCF didn’t want Rekers, and McCollum insisted that he be hired.

McCollum wrote a July 2007 letter to then DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth where he said his legal team “strongly” recommended the hiring of Rekers, a psychologist once on the faculty of the University of South Carolina and who helped found the Family Research Council back in the ‘80s.

“They believe that this expert and his testimony are necessary to ensure a successful result in this case,’’ wrote McCollum in the letter obtained by the Florida Tribune.

McCollum in his letter noted that initially DCF refused to hire Rekers, due primarily to the potential cost of his fees. Instead the child welfare agency wanted to only hire Walter Schumm, a professor of family studies at Kansas State University.

“Dr. Schumm is a good expert, but his areas of expertise are different from Dr. Rekers,’’ wrote McCollum. “Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case.”

As it turned out, Rekers did a miserable job. His bias was so obvious that the judge wrote in her judgment:

Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.

It probably didn’t help that Rekers, in his testimony, suggested it would be consistent to also ban Native Americans from adopting children in the state. The ban on gay adoptions was overturned, and the state is currently appealing the decision. For which it seems they have employed Dr. George Rekers.

Now Bill McCollum is running for Governor. And the decision to employ Rekers – and pay him in excess of $120,000 – has now become a campaign issue. And it may grow in importance, potentially threatening McCollum’s coronation as Republican candidate for Governor.

Although early finagling resulted in McCollum running without credible primary competition, the Tea Partiers have fielded a candidate with a substantial fortune and a business background. In an attitude of anti-politician anger, McCollum is considered “too establishment.” (TMP)

Scott, a millionaire several hundred times over, jumped into GOP primary on April 13, after months of a campaign that already moved onto the general, with likely GOP nominee McCollum facing off against likely Democratic nominee and state CFO Alex Sink. But a new poll released over the weekend shows Scott has succeeded in forcing McCollum into an unexpected and costly primary fight.

It remains to be seen if Rick Scott will launch attacks on McCollum over his decision to hire Rekers. And, if so, we do not know the tone such ads may take. But there is no doubt that the fallout from the scandal has tainted the Attorney General.

And I think that one of the unexpected results of exposing Dr. George Rekers’ double-life – and revealing the hypocrisy in his testimony – may well be that politicians in the future are more hesitant to present or rely on the testimony of anti-gay activists. The repercussions of the Rekers testimony may encourage politicians who are conscious of their future to steer as far from anti-gays as possible.

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