It's very clear that the economy is in the toilet. The national crisis is trickling down (is that what they meant by "trickle-down economics"??) to the states- with education, healthcare, first responders and hundreds of other programs being slashed to make up for budget short falls. This would seem like a time to spend taxpayer dollars carefully, especially in states hit hard in the economic crisis and housing bubble burst.
Well, count on Florida to find a way to use your taxpayer dollars to push bogus bigotry and anti-gay laws. We all heard the great news of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman declaring Florida's anti-gay adoption ban unconstitutional, a case expected to move up the court system and hopefully overturn the ban once and for all. What you might not have heard is that the state of Florida paid $60,000 to retain former University of South Carolina professor George A. Rekers to testify on behalf of the ban. Rekers was the state's "expert witness", even though he had been discredited in a similar case involving gay adoption in Arkansas.
Yes, ladies and gents, those are your tax dollars at work.
Rekers argued that lawmakers were justified in excluding gay people from adoption because "research shows that they are at greater risk of developing a host of impairments that can harm children, such as mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, and the virus that causes AIDS." He also said he would be in favor banning anyone from adopting "who had more than 18 sex partners during a lifetime."
But don't worry, he doesn't just hate gays.
Rekers also oddly added that he would consider banning Native Americans from adopting because "research shows that they are also at much higher risk of mental illness and substance abuse."
Wow. That's a bucket of crazy. A $60,000 bucket of crazy.
Under cross-examination, Rekers' bias was laid bare. He also has a theology degree and acknowledged that he taught and practiced psychology from a "Christian perspective". He also said he condemns social science that doesn't recognize "the moral laws of God."
And it should be of no surprise to anyone that Rekers relies heavily on the debunked work of Paul Cameron, chairman of the Family Research Institute. Cameron was kicked out of the American Psychological Association in 1983 due to his distorted research on gay people.
That's some "expert"...
The Court wasn't buying it
The court obviously didn't take kindly to Reker's skewed "expert" testimony. Court documents state:
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.
And the state shouldn't be surprised at that court assessment. It's nearly identical to what the Arkansas court decided about Rekers:
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. Dr. Rekers' personal agenda caused him to have inconsistent testimony on several issues.
So the state spent $60,000 dollars to bring in a discredited fundie "expert" just to try and keep discrimination enshrined in Florida law and keep kids out of loving homes.
Way to go, Florida. Once again you've proven that you truly are the most backwards state in the union.