Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum yesterday stuck by his decision to hire anti-gay activist George Rekers—the George Rekers who was later caught with a male escort—when the state had to defend its ban on adoption by gay couples.
Rekers, who himself has adopted a child, testified in 2008 in defense of Florida's gay marriage ban, which McCollum supports. As AG, McCollum pushed to hire Rekers over the objections of Department of Children and Families.
McCollum, who is running for governor, says he wouldn't have hired Rekers had he known "that about him"—that is, that Rekers is apparently gay.
"Knowing what I know now, I never would have hired him. At the time, I think it was the appropriate thing to do," McCollum told the Sun Sentinel. "I didn't know that about him.
But Rekers — who was a co-founder of the Family Research Council and until the scandal served on the board of ex-gay group NARTH, which tries to cure homosexuality — was just not a credible witness. The judge in the Florida case threw out his testimony, saying it was too ideological. The judge in a similar Arkansas case, in which Rekers was also an expert witness for the state, did the same.
And yet, he was the best McCollum could find. "You don't find very many experts out there, people willing to testify, especially on academic campuses that are, actually, very discriminating today against people with views that differ from theirs, especially on issues like the gay issue," McCollum said. "He was the best expert that was available and willing to testify."
Rekers testified that gay people have a higher incidence of depression, substance abuse and break-ups. Therefore, he said, they're incapable of providing a safe and stable home to adopted children.
In his meeting with the Sun Sentinel, McCollum also explained that he personally opposes gay adoption because children being raised by a man and a woman is the most "desirable." He cited the "difficulties" single women have raising children alone.