For the better part of eight years I have been trying whenever possible to expose the lies and bogus "research" and "experts" used by the Christianist crowd to support anti-gay legislation. My post on the Florida court decision striking down the Florida gay adoption ban is an example of an old tired retread if you will being trotted out yet again to parrot religious based opinions against gays and gay parenting. That "expert" is George A. Rekers (pictured at left), who while a psychologist, is more importantly a Baptist minister. A gay.com news article from a few years back described Rekers as follows:
The University of South Carolina professor doesn't like you. He believes homosexuality is a mental illness that can be cured, and that same-sex couples make inferior parents, and he's devoting his career to proving it. Rekers' obsessive antipathy would be of little consequence if he had not become the religious right's leading "expert" witness in raging legal battles over the legal definition of family.
He is a key player in a burgeoning anti-gay legal movement, composed of dozens of well-funded groups seeking to block all legal recognition of same-sex relationships. It also has a related -- and even more diabolical -- aim: rolling back the gains gays and lesbians have made in adoption and foster-parenting rights.*
Over the years the previous generation of such agitators, led by Paul Cameron, became so discredited that even the most vitriolic anti-gay legal groups began stripping references to their crackpot studies from legal briefs. (Based on a study with a sample size of 11, Cameron once concluded that lesbians are crime-prone.) Barred by three professional groups for biased research and unprofessional conduct, Cameron has all but disappeared from the debate.
Rekers' research is no more credible, but he is more adept at passing it off as mainstream. Rather than depict gays and lesbians as perverts, pedophiles and worse -- a Cameron trademark -- he relies on discrediting and twisting an emerging body of research finding that children fare equally well in same- and opposite-sex households.
It is crucial that coverage about these bogus experts be disseminated as widely as possible in order to deprive the Christianists of any credible expert witnesses whatsoever. Fortunately in the Florida case, a battery of expert witnesses were willing to testify against the bullshit put out by the State of Florida and its hired "expert" witnesses. As noted in a post on Pam's House Blend, the courts are waking up to the garbage put out by Rekers:*
In 2005, Pulaski County [Arkansas]Circuit Judge Timothy White ruled that the state did not have justifiable grounds to keep gays from adopting children. The Arkansas court specifically said that “Dr. Rekers’ willingness to prioritize his personal beliefs over his functions as an expert provider of fact rendered his testimony extremely suspect and little, if any, assistance to the court” and "Dr. Rekers' personal agenda caused him to have inconsistent testimony on several issues." That ruling led to a ballot initiative that was passed in November barring unmarried heterosexual and gay couples from adopting children.Rekers would later sue the state of Arkansas for $200,00 for his testimony but settled out of court for $60,000.*
About Rekers's testimony, the ACLU said, "The fact that the State resorted to hiring Dr. Rekers - and paying him a $60,000 retainer - despite the fact that he had already been severly discredited by another court in a similar case suggests an absence of credible experts who would testify in support of the prohibition against adoption by gay people.
"What happened in Florida is nothing new. For years the religious right/anti-gay industry have brought in phony experts to push for anti-gay laws or stop the passage of pro-gay laws. If Lederman’s criticisms of Rekers sound familiar to you, then you obviously have read opinions about Paul Cameron. The two are almost interchangeable in their lies about the gay community.