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May 17, 2010

Religious right leader caught with male prostitute has played roles in legal battles over marriage, Boy Scouts, and adoption

Columnist Frank Rich reports in Sunday's NYT that George Rekers -- the Baptist minister, proponent of gay "cures," and cohort of fellow Christian right leader James Dobson who was recently exposed for having rented a 20-year-old male prostitute to accompany him on an overseas trip -- has played key roles in recent state legal battles over adoption, the Boy Scouts, and same-sex marriage:

No less destructive [than the quack treatments promoted by organizations with which Rekers is affiliated] has been Rekers’s role in maintaining the draconian Florida law prohibiting adoptions by gay couples and individuals, a relic of the Anita Bryant era. When the law was challenged in court two years ago, the state Attorney General Bill McCollum personally intervened to enlist Rekers as an expert witness to uphold it. Rekers charged $120,000 for his services — a taxpayers’ expenditure now becoming an issue in the Florida gubernatorial race, where McCollum is a Republican candidate to succeed Charlie Crist. A Miami judge ruled Florida’s law unconstitutional, and even now McCollum is appealing that decision.

Rekers was also an expert witness in a similar court case in Arkansas in 2004. That anti-gay-adoption law was also ruled unconstitutional. (His bill there was $200,000, but he settled for $60,000.) In 1998 Rekers was hired as an expert witness by the Boy Scouts to uphold its gay ban in a case before the District of Columbia Human Rights Commission. And then there’s Rekers’s cameo in the current Proposition 8 trial in California: one of his homophobic screeds can be found in the bibliography for the “expert report” by David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values, the star witness for the anti-same-sex-marriage forces.

-SS

May 17, 2010 | Permalink

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