Not content with Florida’s antiquated ban on gay adoption, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said in an interview released on Monday, “I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children” while advocating for a ban on gay foster parents.
Florida is the only state in the U.S. which explicitly bans same-sex couples from adopting children, however the ban, enacted in 1977, does not prevent gay and lesbian couples from fostering.
Bill McCollum Flashes his Anti-Gay Credentials
In the wake of heavy criticism over the George Rekers scandal, one would think that McCollum might wish to dodge the subject of gay parenting during his media campaign as he pushes to be the Republican candidate for Governor.
But no, he remains as fiercely anti-gay as ever, telling the Florida Baptist Witness that he not only wants to keep Florida’s gay adoption ban, he also wants a ban on gay couples fostering, an opinion he’s based on an appeal to consistency and his personal “religious faith”:
Florida permits homosexuals to serve as foster parents. That has been used as an argument to undermine the ban on adoptions. Should homosexuals be permitted to serve as foster parents in Florida?
Well, I personally don’t think so, but that is the law.
Should the law be changed?
I think that it would be advisable. I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children. I think that it’s a lifestyle that I don’t agree with. I realize a lot of people do. It’s my personal faith, religious faith, that I don’t believe that the people who do this should be raising our children. It’s not a natural thing. You need a mother and a father. You need a man and a woman. That’s what God intended.
It is worth noting that this view does not tally with the consensus of the Episcopal Church that McCollum says he visits frequently (though not exclusively). The Episcopal Church has been noted for its acceptance of same-sex couples and has been the center of controversy over its approval of gay and lesbian clergy.
McCollum’s Views: Personal Bias, Not Fact
For me this interview is very telling, in particular lines like:
“I don’t believe in gay adoption. I don’t believe in involving the government in enforcing or encouraging the lifestyle of gays and homosexuals.”
And how McCollum then categorizes his views:
“It’s my personal faith, religious faith, that I don’t believe that the people who do this should be raising our children. It’s not a natural thing.”
So, by his own admission, this is a personal belief. But during his time as Florida Attorney General, McCollum spent an estimated $383,000 of tax payer money to defend Florida’s gay adoption ban in court, a ban which polls suggest a majority of Florida’s residents do not support and one that a court has rejected as unconstitutional.
Now he’s advocating going further and banning same-sex couple from fostering, all based on his personal, private beliefs. Who, exactly, is pursuing a personal agenda and imposing their views on others now?
Study after study demonstrates that gay and lesbian couples are perfectly suitable parents, but McCollum is hiding behind the ultra-conservative myth of the so-called gay agenda and how it is supposedly being forced on an unsuspecting populous by a liberal government or by radical judges, while apparently seeing no hypocrisy in his own approach to the issue.
Despite the Rekers Fiasco, McCollum Confident of a Win in Court
In the aforementioned interview McCollum also voices his opposition to gay marriage, so-called “ObamaCare”, his support for Arizona’s immigration law and lauds his nuclear family stance; all fairly standard responses. More noteworthy, however, are his comments on the George Rekers scandal.
McCollum payed George Rekers, a man who believes that homosexuality can be cured and who co-founded the vehemently anti-gay Family Research Council, an estimated $87,000 of tax payer money to have him testify in defense of Florida’s gay adoption ban as an expert witness, only for Rekers’ testimony to be rejected as unsound and for the man to be caught on holiday earlier this year with a male travel companion who advertised on website Rentboy.com.
Rekers claimed the young man was there to help him carry his luggage after recently undergoing several rounds of surgery, and that he was counseling his 20-year-old companion. His traveling partner, while not totally disproving this claim (the luggage lifting part), had a rather different take on the trip.
Regardless, McCollum thinks that he has a good chance of defending the constitutionality of the law on appeal. He does say in the interview that he would not have used Rekers as an expert witness knowing what he knows today though, while giving a rather convoluted answer as to Rekers’ credentials:
Rekkers [sic] was not an authority on this issue. He was an authority in the sense that he was a scholar. He did research into papers that other people wrote. So he was able to be used to get into evidence these matters that we needed. And it’s unfortunate that all this publicity has come up over it, but the lawsuit, I think, is on sound ground and we’re carrying it forward.
Presiding over the case Judge Cindy Lederman had a harsher take on Rekers’ suitability, saying: “The court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.” Lederman went on to rule that the gay adoption ban has no rational basis. The case is currently with the Third District Court of Appeals and is destined for the state Supreme Court.
But the central issue here is that McCollum seems to believe that his own narrow personal views should be the basis of public policy, and he’s touting the “I’m thinking of the children” card while flashing his self-avowed religious views all over the place to prop up his flagging poll ratings ahead of the August 24 primary.
It’s sad that McCollum is using this kind of rhetoric to win some votes, but the facts are these: there exists no legitimate reason to perpetuate the ban, and it certainly isn’t something that McCollum should be proud of defending.