Marcus Bachmann Defends His Ex-Gay Practice
July 15th, 2011
In an interview with The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Marcus Bachmann, husband of GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, defended his psychological clinics, saying they are not focused on ex-gay conversion therapy. He also denied calling gay people barbarians in a 2010 radio interview.
Late last week, John Becker of Truth Wins Out revealed that he attended Bachmann’s clinic in Minnesota, where he was counseled over the course of five treatment sessions that he could change his sexuality. Counselor Timothy Wiertzema told Becker:
“…it’s possible to be totally free of [same-sex attraction]. For sure.” and that “It’s happened! It really has happened to people.” In the fifth session, Wiertzema says, “…obviously your goal is not to have any feelings of attraction for men…And I really am going to recommend that we start working on how you can develop your attractions towards women.”
…During session 5, Wiertzema advised Becker to “further develop your own sense of masculinity.” Reparative therapy reinforces strict gender roles and works to erase outward appearances of femininity in men and masculinity in women. Because these programs do not genuinely change sexual orientation, much focus is placed on changing behavior so an individual can “pass” as heterosexual, even if the gay person has not changed on the inside.
Marcus Bachmann said counselors at his clinics follow the wishes of patients and don’t force any treatment “This individual came to us under a false pretense,” Bachmann said. “The truth of the matter is he specifically asked for help.”
…He didn’t deny that he or other counselors at Bachmann & Associates have attempted to convert gay patients, but he said it is not a special interest of the business and would only be attempted at the client’s request.
“Will I address it? Certainly we’ll talk about it,” Bachmann said. “Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? … It is at the client’s discretion.”
TWO’s John Becker responds:
Marcus Bachmann wants Americans to believe that giving me reparative therapy was acceptable because I specifically asked for it. This is patently absurd. Responsible counselors refuse to provide ex-gay “therapy” because it is scientifically baseless and morally bankrupt. Bachmann & Associates, though, was more than happy to hold out false promises of change with one hand and collect the cash with the other.
The notion that a counselor is required harm a client just because he or she asks is patently absurd, asserts TWO. Similarly, if a bodybuilder had asked a doctor to help him or her inject steroids, the practitioner could refuse. If an African American asked a doctor for a skin bleaching, he or she could decline. If a physician is urged to help manage a model’s anorexia, he or she could turn the model away and instead offer real medical help.
Every major mental health and medical organization opposes therapies intended to change sexual orientation. In an exhaustive review of the professional peer-reviewed literature, the American Psychological Association concluded (PDF: 816KB/138 pages) that “enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation is uncommon” and that “there was some evidence to indicate that individuals experienced harm” from such therapies.
Bachmann also claimed that the tape of his 2010 interview with a Christian talk radio program “must have been doctored“:
“I was talking in reference to children. Nothing, nothing to do with homosexuality. That’s not my mindset. That’s not my belief system. That’s not the way I would talk,” Bachmann said.
…”I think the strongest myth. … is the myth that I have ever called a homosexual a barbarian,” Bachmann said.
The audio, provided by the Dump Bachmann Blog, includes annoyingly loud sound-effects where edit points occur. Beginning at around the two-minute mark, there is one such edit point, after which the program returns from a commercial break. At that point, the interviewer begins asking Bachmann — “since you pay attention to the culture wars” — about a a letter from the anti-gay front group calling themselves the “American College of Pediatricians” (not to be confused with the legitimate and mainstream American Association of Pediatrics) and a then-recent Wall Street Journal article titled, “What do you say when your teenager says she’s gay?” The interviewer asks Bachmann:
Interviewer: (at 2:45) What do you say to Christian parents that come up with this?
Bachmann: Well I think you clearly say, what is the understanding of God’s Word on homosexuality? And I think that this is no mystery that a child or pre-adolescent, particularly an adolescent, will question and wonder about sexuality. That’s nothing new under the sun since the beginning of time.
Inteviewer: (laughs) yeah…
Bachmann: But I don’t think we should take that, as because we wonder or we think or we question, does that take us down the road of homosexuality?
Interviewer: Could you add the word “experiment” to that?
Bachmann: Well certainly, there’s that curiosity. But again, we, like… It is as if we have to understand barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps.
And let’s face it: what is our culture, what is our public education system doing today? They are giving full, wide-open doors to children, not only giving encouragement to think it, but to actually encourage action steps. That’s why when we understand what truly is the percentage of homosexuals in this country, it is small. But by these open doors, I can see and we are experiencing, that it is starting to increase.
There does not appear to be any edit points or tampering with this portion of the interview. Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he was speaking of children generally, but it appears that in the full context of the interview the focus very specifically on gay children when Bachmann uttered his “barbarians” remark.
On Monday, Michele Bachman refused to comment on her husband’s clinic, except to characterize his business as “jobs creation.”