When George Alan Rekers, a cofounder along with James Dobson of the Family Research Council and a leader in the ex-gay movement, was caught walking off a plane from Europe with a young male prostitute, he first insisted that he didn’t know the young man was an escort until halfway through their 10-day vacation.
“I had surgery,” Rekers told the Miami New Times, which broke the story yesterday, “and I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.”
Rekers had hired the escort, dubbed “Lucien” by the New Times, through the website RentBoy.com (NSFW), a popular site that hosts ads for gay male escorts. There’s little mistaking what the site is for.
The site’s users first encounter a disclaimer that the may encounter “content and materials that are of a graphic and/or sexual nature,” and must agree to terms and conditions before entering. The homepage is predominantly photos of naked men. To search for an escort, or “find boys,” one can even select a specialty: “rentboy,” “sugardaddy” or “masseur.”
“I do not believe that there is any way a person could be mistaken about what they are hiring when they find a listing on our website,” a spokesman for RentBoy tells TPM in an email. “I think it is clear from our ad campaigns in gay publications and our website itself that we are targeting a gay audience — gay men seeking men for hire.”
Rekers has long advocated for protecting children from “harmful” homosexual influences. He sits on a committee of the American College of Pediatricians, which believes “children exposed to the homosexual lifestyle may be at increased risk for emotional, mental, and even physical harm.” He’s a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality.
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He has also been paid tens of thousands of dollars by the states of Florida and Arkansas for testimony defending their bans against gay couples adopting children. The judges in both cases found that Rekers’ testimony less than credible.
So it was surprising when Rekers admitted to traveling with a gay prostitute. When first confronted with a photo of the two together after returning from a trip in April, Rekers said he simply didn’t know what “Lucien” had really been advertising until halfway through their trip. Both men told the New Times that they didn’t have sex.
But he later told another blogger that he was simply trying to save his friend by “lovingly” sharing the message of Jesus, as he had done with other “sexual sinners.”
“I have spent much time as a mental health professional and as a Christian minister helping and lovingly caring for people identifying themselves as ‘gay.’ My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes,” Rekers wrote in a Facebook message to Joe Jervis.
Contrary to false gossip, innuendo, and slander about me, I do not in any way “hate” homosexuals, but I seek to lovingly share two types of messages to them, as I did with the young man called “Lucien” in the news story:  It is possible to cease homosexual practices to avoid the unacceptable health risks associated with that behavior, and  the most important decision one can make is to establish a relationship with God for all eternity by trusting in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, including homosexual sins.
The FRC said it would have a statement out later today.
Late update: The FRC sends over a statement from president Tony Perkins, claiming to have had no contact with Rekers in the last decade.