crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
George Rekers considers himself a pro-family expert. He is a retired professor at the University of South Carolina who taught neuropsychiatry and behavioral science.
He also was a member of the founding board of the Family Research Council. In addition, he travels from state to state giving “expert testimony” on the subject of gay adoption.
Rekers was an expert witness in a 2004 case involving gay adoption in Arkansas. The state had banned gays from adopting in 1999. In January 2005, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy White ruled against the state of Arkansas. Furthermore, he called Rekers's testimony “extremely suspect.” He also accused Rekers of testifying solely for promoting his “own personal agenda.”
Of course we all know what that decision led to – one of the ballot initiatives that got us all upset .
Last week, Rekers was in Florida testifying in a case of a gay man wishing to adopt a 4-year-old boy and his 8-year-old brother.
Florida is the only state that bans all gay people from adopting. This fall, a Circuit Court judge in Key West declared Florida's ban unconstitutional, although the decision is unlikely to hold much sway because it was not appealed to a higher court. Since the state is fighting the gay man's attempt to adopt the two boys, a decision by the judge here to declare the law unconstitutional would be of far greater consequence (paragraph gleaned from the Miami Herald).
That being the case, the state of Florida called Rekers as an “expert witness” on the subject.
According the Miami Herald:
Gay men and lesbians have two to four times the likelihood of suffering from major depression, anxiety or substance abuse, based on several national studies, Rekers testified. Gay men, he said, are four times more likely than straight men to attempt suicide.
Depressed people, Rekers said, ''are less consistent in their parenting, less positive [and] have higher rates of neglecting child needs.'' Gay people, he added, “would have less capability of providing the kind of nurturing and secure emotional environment for children.''
. . . Rekers said he would, in fact, favor banning anyone from adopting who had more than 18 ''sex partners'' during a lifetime. ''I think that would be a very good social policy,'' he said in a deposition.
He said he would also consider banning Native Americans from adopting because research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse. ''They would tend to hang around each other,'' Rekers testified. “So the children would be around a lot of other Native Americans who are . . . doing the same sorts of things.''
Of course Rekers omitted the fact that the studies in question never said that the lgbt orientation was the reason behind the depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, but rather the effects of having to deal with a homophobic society. And yes I could make a comment about his opinion of sexually active individuals.
I think it's more telling to focus on Rekers's bizarre assessment of the Native American community.
I see it as a huge Freudian slip not only on his part but on the part of those who have been touting the “pro-family” line all of these years.
What do you think?
UPDATE – Box Turtle Bulletin has added more details to this story. Apparently Rekers and the other “expert” who testified, Bob Schumm, are users of work from discredited researcher Paul Cameron.
This is exactly one of the points I was making in my entry, Message to the Religious Right:
. . . Where were you when over the course of 20 years all of those phony “pro-family” groups told lies in front of federal and congressional state houses in attempts to beat back pro-gay laws or spread discredited research . . .