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Embattled George Rekers Resigns From NARTH, Offered Legal Aid by Liberty Counsel

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

MIAMI, Florida, May 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Professor George Rekers, a pro-family leader and expert on homosexuality, who is embroiled in a scandal after he was found to have hired a traveling companion with a profile on a homosexual escort service website, has resigned his membership on the board of National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). He said that he made the decision in order to resolve the allegations made against him through defamation attorneys.

At the same time, a leading Christian legal advocacy group, Liberty Counsel, has offered to provide him their services in the event of legal action. "I think [Mr. Rekers] would have a great case to file a defamation action," Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told the Washington Times.  

Rekers, 61, was caught on camera by the Miami New Times on April 13 returning from a 10 day trip in Europe with a homosexual male escort later identified as Jo-vanni Roman, 20.

Roman at first denied that he had any sexual involvement with Rekers, but later alleged that Rekers paid him $75 a day plus travel expenses in exchange for acting as a travel assistant, translator, and sensual masseur. According to a contract allegedly made between Rekers and Roman, a copy of which Roman showed to CNN, Rekers specifically contracted Roman to provide an hourly massage every day while on the trip.

Rekers, a co-founder of the Family Research Council (FRC) and professor emeritus of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina, has denied accusations that he had sexual involvement with Roman, saying only that he required a travelling companion to help lift luggage because of recent surgery. He has also denied that he contacted Roman through the website rentboys.com, which Roman has claimed was the only way Rekers could have found him.

The embattled pro-family leader, who has seen his career and reputation collapse under the weight of the allegations, has threatened to sue media outlets like the New Times for “defamation.”

Rekers is not without his supporters. "I think it was a completely arranged setup," Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver told the Washington Times, referring to how staff members of the New Times managed to ambush Rekers and Roman as they made their way through the Miami airport.

The possibility that Rekers is the victim of a set-up owing to his connections with NARTH cannot be completely ruled out. Earlier this year Dr. Julie Hamilton, president of NARTH, revealed that protestors at NARTH’s 2009 Convention had announced they would go after individual members associated with the organization. Hamilton said one journalist in England conducted a sting against two therapists by posing as a client with unwanted homosexual attractions.

But while the Miami New Times revealed Thursday that they did indeed ambush Roman and Rekers, they said Roman was not involved in any set-up. According to their account one of Roman’s friends knew his passwords, got into his email, and gave the newspaper screen shots of Roman’s e-mails and his travel itinerary. The New Times journalists studied the information, camped out at the airport, snapped the photo, and spoke with both Rekers and Roman before breaking the story May 4.

Rekers says he has opted to resolve the matter through attorneys instead of addressing the allegations through the media.

"With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever,” said a statement from Rekers. “I am not gay and never have been.”

NARTH has accepted Rekers resignation and in a statement said they “would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation.”

“We express our sincere sympathy to all individuals, regardless of their perspective, who have been injured by these events.”


Rekers Responds to Conflicting Accounts about Finding Jo-Vanni Roman

At this point Rekers may be the only one who can set the record straight; but thus far his explanations have been somewhat thin on the details, especially on the issue of how he found Roman.

The New Times on Thursday stated that Rekers told them that he found Roman through a Google search.

The New Times asked, "Where did you find out about his services as a travel companion? Where were they being advertised?"

Rekers allegedly responded: "I did a Google search for 'travel companion,' and he came up on that. I contacted him."

New Times then said they asked whether Rekers found him on RentBoy.com or not. The newspaper said that after a long silence, Rekers said: "I don't know if it was or not."

LSN contacted Rekers twice by e-mail last Friday to get his version. He wrote in response that Roman was “recommended to me for my travel assistant by an acquaintance I trusted,” an explanation that appears to contradict what he told the New Times, assuming that the Times quoted him accurately.

Rekers added that he regretted “not taking more time to do a more thorough background check” on Roman before hiring him in retrospect.

“When I talked to him before the trip as a possible assistant, when describing his past work experience as a travel companion, he told me that he had recently worked as a companion to a foreign visitor to another state for numerous weeks,” said Rekers. “He further volunteered that it was purely a social companionship and not sexual. In addition to having relevant experience, he was also fluent in Spanish and could serve as an interpreter in Spain.”

Rekers then said that he “searched his name on the Internet (with Google, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and did not find any negative information about him before the trip.”

In an e-mail sent to LSN today, Rekers addressed the apparent conflict between the Miami New Times account and the one he gave to LSN.

Rekers said that before the scandal broke in the media, the New Miami Times reporter, “called with a very accusatory tone, and asked me about how I found my travel assistant. He seemed to have his mind made up, and did not give me time for a full explanation, before interrupting and ending the call with insufficient time for me to respond fully."

“I had started to try to explain that I made multiple attempts to find an assistant including making a Google search and asking others, and never had the chance to complete my thoughts. He did not give me time to complete my response that my Google search ran into several dead ends in terms of finding someone in my needed time frame. The Miami New Times reporter never interviewed me at any length and terminated that call prematurely before I could make full explanation.”

LSN had requested that Rekers speak to us on the record, but he responded: “Because this has become a legal matter concerning defamation, I have been advised not to grant the interview you requested to more fully explain at this time.”


See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

FRC Responds to Reports of Pro-Family Leader Accused of Affair with Male Escort
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/may/10050610.html

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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