In 1983, George Rekers joined James Dobson and a handful of others in founding the Family Research Council.
Last month, Rekers was reportedly discovered returning from an overseas trip with a "rent boy":
On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.
That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.
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Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Though medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)
For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America's best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers's Euro-trip.)
He has also influenced American politics, serving in advisory roles with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services and testifying as a state's witness in favor of Florida's gay adoption ban. A former research fellow at Harvard University and a distinguished professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Rekers has published papers and books by the hundreds, with titles like Who Am I? Lord and Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality.
The New Times underscored that Rekers couldn't have just casually come across "Lucian's" profile. He would have had to sign up and agree to Rentboy.com's terms of service then find his listing on the site
Both the sex worker and Rekers deny having sex on the trip, and emails exchanged between the two prior to their escapade are carefully worded. Reached by New Times reporters Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp, who broke the story, before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned that the man in question was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Though medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the large baggage cart through Miami International Airport, according to the New Times.)
"It is clear that Rekers has baggage and certainly needs help," said Besen. "At least he did not say he was walking the Appalachian Trail. Given the sordid and tawdry facts, he should immediately step down from NARTH's Board and apologize to the LGBT community for his extreme hypocrisy and self-loathing. As of today, his entire body of work on LGBT issues is rendered meaningless."
This is the second NARTH board member to be exposed as a fraud in the past three months. In February, Arthur Abba Goldberg was unmasked as a con artist who had served prison time for bond fraud. Goldberg was also the co-fonder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH). Goldberg resigned from NARTH's board in shame.
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