If you prefer the previous title:
"Carrying Luggage for Anti-Gay, Anti-Child Florida Law."
The other day, the courageous, and mercurial Mike Stark wrote a story about a gay couple in Florida named Frank Gill and Tom Roe. This loving couple had seen it as their responsibility to take into their home two brothers who had been raised in a crack house. The boys were disheveled, paranoid, and generally demonstrated the results of an existence that began in pain and was continuing in pain.
This interconnected web of mean spirited and hypocritical human actors continues below.
The proverbial meat of the story is as follows:
John, 4, wore filthy clothes, suffered from a severe case of ringworm and was all but comatose, responding only to his 4-month-old brother, James. He had become James' main caregiver, feeding him and changing his diaper as his parents huffed their drugs.
John shunned affection. He grunted instead of talked. He hoarded food because in the world he came from, it was not a commodity to take for granted.
James was so young, he healed quickly. But it took Gill and his partner, Tom Roe, two years of relentless compassion to reach John. And now both brothers are thriving. They have friends, a school, a safe neighborhood, loving parents and, most of all, structure.
Gill saved their lives.
The Huffington Post's AP article on this from 2008 came with this beautiful line spoken by one of the children:
He said the two boys have been practicing writing their new last names, and the older one said: "That's what's going to make us a family."
I am going to selfishly interject a personal story here. When I was 16, I was offered the exciting and life changing opportunity to study in beer soaked Germany as a peach fuzzed high schooler. I knew this opportunity existed, and I had been studiously learning the throat scraping and tongue rolling German language since the 8th grade in hopes of attending for the liberating 6 month adventure.
The grand matronly former East German who operated the now defunct program visited my broken and dysfunctional home. I'm certain my irresponsible father, a vintage convenience hippy (It's great, I don't have to work!) by trade most assuredly had his pipes and drink spread out around the shag rugged living room to be sure that this opportunity for me to go somewhere else would not result in the opportunity for someone to come to me. It was supposed to be a shared exchange.
She decided against someone staying with me. She opted to send me to a very particularly selected, working class family in the rustbelt of Germany. A real couple. They were husband and wife, separated only by individual bedroom walls only as a matter of marital practice, but nonetheless they were a loving and charming couple. They lived in a large apartment building. In my world, this kind of thing was a huge step up. There was breakfast in the morning, a lunch for me at school, and cheap, hastily constructed dinner was shared by the four of us at a small kitchen table. To me, this was Norman Rockwell. To the other suburbanites who went on this venture to Germany, it would probably have been a peek at how those with less social status live.
It was the first real family that I had ever had the opportunity of living with.
Recently, on the occasion of her 90th birthday, I rose to speak about my life defining experience as a 16 year old boy in a foreign country. I held a microphone. I speak publicly for my job, but I was only able to blurt out something along these lines as a comment on my time in Germany:
When Frau spoke to me sometime after the exchange program, she told me that the reason she had see fit to send me to Germany (tears starting... choking beginning) was that, "Ach, Otto ven I see you comink in ze class vis your hands all red from vashing dishes, and your jeans all torn, my heart just goes out to you." I wanted to thank you, Frau. (It's getting ready to burst. The whole backed up lake of tears was getting ready.) When I went to Germany and I lived with the XXXXX's, it was the only time in my life that I had a real family. For that I thank you, Frau. (Deluge. Head down, walk with purpose to the edge of the group.)
I felt what those boys were feeling. I felt that instant family feeling. The overwhelming relief and joy of having two parents at home who were going to be there for me, and who were going to support me in a non-judgmental manner.
What does this have to to with Dr. George Rekers? The famous Dr. Rekers of the "It takes a village of strapping young male prostitutes to carry my Samsonite fame?"
Well, during the case of Frank Gill and Tom Roe the arguments for continuing the existing ban on gay adoption was argued by the state, and the state brought expert witnesses to give testimony.
The attorney general's main expert witnesses was George Rekers, a Miami clinical psychologist and Baptist minister who believes gays are immoral and has written that gay activists are trying to legalize pedophilia. He argues gays are more prone to depressive disorders, substance abuse and unstable relationships, disqualifying them as adoptive parents.
Here we have what appears to be a closeted gay man. He could be living a wonderfully happy life full of the joy of partnership, romance, and Fatherhood that we should all be so lucky to enjoy. Not only could he be having all of these simple joys, but he could also be doing something positive for those who live in the shadows cast by poverty, dysfunctional families and drug abuse. Yet, he is so utterly fearful of his own humanity that he determines it is his cynical mission in life to beat down the already beaten down. He stands up on the witness stand and makes a fallacious case for denying individuals their basic human rights. Not only is he denying this loving couple the same rights, but he is, simply put, denying those two children the opportunity that I so fondly look back on as a young man. The opportunity to have a real family living together and caring about each other.
If I attempt to process this dishonest man's broken lines of thought, I very nearly pass out from overexertion.
While the word hypocrisy might live on through a myriad of misspellings across the internet, it will always mean the same thing no matter who can't spell it.
Perhaps these lovely men aren't as atavistic as Rekers' mustache, but they are certainly more man than the cowardly doctor could ever hope to be.