Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum gave a statement to the Miami Herald's Naked Politics that seemed to suggest he was unaware of George Rekers damaging and dangerous "ex-gay" background when he was hired to defend the state's ban on gay adoption (and paid $120K for it).
"I will not do it again. I think our team’s done what it should do. We’ve been defending the constitution of the state and we’ve been representing the Department of Children and Families, who hired him and paid him and needed expert witnesses and he was available and credentialed. I wouldn’t do it again if I knew what I know today but I didn't know that then and neither did anybody else."
"Attorney General Bill McCollum personally urged that the state hire George Rekers, the anti-gay psychologist whose recent European trip with a gay male escort has exploded into a furious media frenzy since it was first reported last week…
McCollum wrote a July 2007 letter to then DCF (Department of Children and Families) Secretary Bob Butterworth where he said his legal team “strongly” recommended the hiring of Rekers, a psychologist once on the faculty of the University of South Carolina and who helped found the Family Research Council back in the ‘80s.
“They believe that this expert and his testimony are necessary to ensure a successful result in this case,’’ wrote McCollum in the letter obtained by the Florida Tribune.
McCollum in his letter noted that initially DCF refused to hire Rekers, due primarily to the potential cost of his fees. Instead the child welfare agency wanted to only hire Walter Schumm, a professor of family studies at Kansas State University.
“Dr. Schumm is a good expert, but his areas of expertise are different from Dr. Rekers,’’ wrote McCollum. “Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case.”
Butterworth wrote a letter back to McCollum three days later saying that he gave “great weight to the analysis and recommendation of your staff” and authorized the hiring of Rekers as long as the state’s obligation did not exceed $60,900 for services through the trial. The state eventually paid twice that much over a two-year period.
Joe Follick, a spokesman for DCF, said that the department listened to its attorneys and decided to go along and hire Rekers.
“We retained the Attorney General to defend the Florida law,’’ said Follick. “In any of those relationships you rely on your counsel to provide the best defense. We have faith they represented us to the best of their ability.”
Not a lot of research is required to find out that Rekers is on the Board of "ex-gay" therapy group NARTH. McCollum should be held accountable.