Thursday, November 27, 2008

Florida paid a pretty penny for discredited work against gay adoption

Editor's note - May, 5, 2010 - In light of recent developments regarding Rekers and a male escort, it has come out that he (and a colleague- Walter Schum) were actually paid $87,000 to testify against gay adoption.

According to court records, the state of Florida paid former University of South Carolina professor George A. Rekers a $60,000 retainer to testify for the gay adoption ban.

Ironically, according to the same court documents, it is clear that Rekers’ testimony didn’t help the state’s case.

Court documents said:

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 can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.

Despite all of this, organizations on the right maligned Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman for her decision, calling her an “activist judge.”

Matt Staver of the Liberty Counsel said:

"This judge is merely an ideological activist, and ideological activists have no reason to don a black robe and sit behind a bench and pontificate. This judge's decision should be overturned, and moreover, this judge should be voted out of office.”
Moreover, comments on right-wing sites such as One News Now and Free Republic questioned not only Lederman’s objectivity, but her sexual orientation in lurid terms.

The American Civil Liberties Union, in an excerpt of proposed findings to the court, criticized the state of Florida for using Rekers as an expert witness even after he had been discredited in a similar Arkansas case involving gay adoption.

In 2005, Pulaski County 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.

According to a 1994 OutFront magazine article, the then Colorado Attorney General Gail Norton paid Paul Cameron over $15,000 in an effort to defend the state’s newly passed law outlawing gay rights ordinances. When Norton learned of Cameron’s dubious reputation, she did not use him or his “research.”

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the law in the same year.


Jim Burroway said...

One clarification: The first link containing material on the expert witnesses were not finding from the court. They were part of a submittal to the court from the ACLU.

BlackTsunami said...

Hey Jim,

Thank you for the clarification. I have made the necessary changes. ;p

Anonymous said...

rawstory says this guy just got caught with a callboy. said he was just carrying his luggage. someone posted email exchanges with callboy and him too. now aren't you glad you read my comment?