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Posts for November, 2011

Oh Stop Whining And Just Pay The Lady

Jim Burroway

November 15th, 2011

John Becker wrote about going undercover as an “ex-gay” patient at Marcus Bachmann’s clinic. After publishing the results, he also, as you can imagine, decided not to go back for any more “treatments.” Becker called to cancel his three remaining sessions, but apparently the receptionist only cancelled one. Which means that Bachmann is now is demanding payment for Becker’s two no-shows. He really wants that $150, and left this message on Becker’s voicemail:

Hello John Becker, this is Doctor Marcus Bachmann (emphasis his); I received a message from our billing department asking if we would write off the two no-show fees for 7/7/11 and 7/12/11. We will not (emphasis his) be writing those off, so you do owe those no-show fees, and we would expect payment as soon as possible, otherwise we will have to turn it over to collections. If you have any questions you can call …

Totally reasonable if you ask me. After all, those bills from Nordstrom can really add up fast.

Proof that Marcus Bachmann Is Not Gay

Jim Burroway

October 19th, 2011

No gay man would ever let someone walk out on stage before a nationally-televised audience dressed like that.

Maybe There’s A Theory of Ex-Gay Relativity

Jim Burroway

August 8th, 2011

The way the Bachmans have been ditching questions about Marcus Bachmann’s counselling clinic providing ex-gay therapy in direct conflict with the position of every major medical and mental health organization, you’d think they would be extra careful to avoid anything which would invite further scrutiny in that particular area. And if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Yesterday, Michele and Marcus Bachman attended an Iowa church in which the main point of the sermon was the promotion of the ex-gay movement.

[Point of Grace Church Pastor Jeff] Mullen’s sermon concluded with video testimonial from a man named Adam Hood, who claims to have been gay before experiencing a conversation with God. “I am so happy God has given me natural affection for a woman,” Hood said in the video, adding that his wife is nine months pregnant.

“We need to have compassion for people that are bound by that sin,” Hood added. “And it is a sin. Call a spade a spade.”

Yes, that Adam Hood, a.k.a Scarfboi. And if Hood is now accepted as being completely, totally, believe-you-him straight, then I guess you can see how Marcus Bachmann might start to look a little butch. If you squint.

Macus Bachmann Can’t Handle Looking Gay

Jim Burroway

August 8th, 2011

The duck quacks:

Marcus Bachmann plopped down on the seat next to me, in the back of the plane. He pointed at my laptop and asked if he could take a look. “All I want to know is what they’re saying about me,” he said. “Newsweek came up with the word ‘silver fox.’ Tell me what ‘silver fox’ means.”

“Do you want me to tell you honestly?” I asked.

“Oh, don’t tell me it’s something gay!” he said. “Because I’ve been called that before.” …

I explained that “silver fox” probably had more to do with the color of his hair.

“O.K., I can handle that,” he said. Tera, the assistant, assured him that it was a positive term.

“It’s better than Porky Pig,” Marcus said, with a laugh.

Marcus announced that he would now analyze everyone around him. He asked for three characteristics that a close friend might use to describe me. I demurred. He kept pushing: “So reporters are not that vulnerable?” “Maybe it’s a man thing.”

Also, reporters are prohibited from photographing Michele Bachmann unless she is in full makeup, fake eyelashes, and a full dress — often delivered from Nordstrom’s:

After we landed in Des Moines, an aide handed Bachmann a copy of that morning’s Des Moines Register. She swung around to face the press, displaying the front-page headline: “ROMNEY, BACHMANN LEAD REPUBLICAN PACK.” It was a perfect shot. The members of the press looked at her cargo pants and then at one another. Nobody took a picture.


Hardball Confirms Bachmann’s Barbarian Comments Weren’t “Doctored”

Jim Burroway

July 15th, 2011
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Meanwhile, there has been considerable controversy over whether Bachmann called gay kids “barbarians” needing discipline, or if he was talking about children in general. Given the context of the interview — which was about gay kids and not kids generally — I think the transcript speaks for itself. Others see it differently, including Ken Avidor, who posted the audio originally:

Avidor does, however, somewhat defend Bachmann against the accusation that he explicitly called gays “barbarians.” Avidor says he’s listened to “a lot of Marcus Bachmann audio,” and he’s heard him say before that “children are barbarians, and somehow they have this innate desire to do, I think in his point of view, wild and crazy things, very un-Christian things in his point of view,” and these things need to be “civilized out of them.” So Bachmann wasn’t really calling gay children barbarians, necessarily — he was merely calling homosexuality one of the many barbaric traits children sometimes exhibit. Not much better.

Marcus Bachmann Defends His Ex-Gay Practice

Jim Burroway

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.

According to The Star-Tribune:

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.

Wayne Besen adds:

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:

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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.”

Michele Bachmann Says Ex-Gay Therapy Is “Jobs Creation”

Jim Burroway

July 12th, 2011

Last Friday, we learned that Truth Wins Out’s John Becker had gone undercover as an patient in Marcus Bachmann’s clinic in Minnesota, where he was given at least five sessions of ex-gay therapy. Shortly after, The Nation revealed that a former patient, Andrew Ramirez, had come forward to reveal that he had undergone ex-gay therapy at Bachmann’s clinic in 2004. That would be two years before Bachmann denied offering ex-gay therapy. Marcus’s wife, GOP presidential candidate and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman spoke to a locak Iowa reporter and described her husband’s ex-gay therapy as “a business that deals with job creation,” adding, “I’m very proud of the business that we created.”

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Last June, NBC reported that Bachmann had taken $137,000 in taxpayer-provided Medicaid funds, despite the Bachmann’s opposition to governmental programs. ABC News and NBC News has covered TWO’s undercover investigation of Bachmann’s clinic.  Fox has also covered the story in their own inimitable way:

Just so we’re clear on who the victims are.

More Confirmation: Bachmann’s Clinic Offered Ex-Gay Therapy in 2004

Jim Burroway

July 9th, 2011

The Nation has the details:

In the summer of 2004, Andrew Ramirez, who was just about to enter his senior year of high school, worked up the nerve to tell his family he was gay. His mother took the news in stride, but his stepfather, a conservative Christian, was outraged. … A few weeks later, his parents marched him into the office of Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling center in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, which is owned by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus. From the outset, Ramirez says, his therapist—one of roughly twenty employed at the Lake Elmo clinic—made it clear that renouncing his sexual orientation was the only moral choice. “He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” Ramirez recalls. According to Ramirez, his therapist then set about trying to “cure” him. Among other things, he urged Ramirez to pray and read the Bible, particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination, and referred him to a local church for people who had given up the “gay lifestyle.” He even offered to set Ramirez up with an ex-lesbian mentor.

This comes on the heels of yesterday’s Truth Wins Out’s exposé in which TWO’s Director of Communications and Development John Becker went undercover and received several sessions of ex-gay counseling.

It’s Confirmed: Marcus Bachmann’s Clinic Practices Ex-Gay Therapy

Jim Burroway

July 8th, 2011

Michele and Marcus Bachmann on the campaign trail.

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s political adviser and “Godly husband,” Dr. Marcus Bachman, denied in 2006 that his Minnesota clinic, Bachmann and Associates, practices ex-gay therapy — even though he promoted the ex-gay movement at a pastoral conference the year before, and in 2010 he spoke of gay children as “barbarians” that “need to be disciplined.” That last bit of advice — disciplining gay children — is eerily familiar after BTB’s original investigation last month revealing that ex-gay therapist George Rekers’s most famous patient, four-year-old “Kraig”, was actually Kirk Andrew Murphy, who remained gay and committed suicide in 2003. Kirk was also “disciplined” as a very young boy while under Rekers’s direction.

Now we have confirmation that Bachmann and Associates does, in fact, offer ex-gay therapy. John Becker, Truth Wins Out’s Director of Communications and Development, attended five private sessions with Bachmann & Associates counselor Timothy Wiertzema:

During the sessions, Wiertzema claimed that it was possible to change from gay to straight through prayer and therapy. During the third session Wiertzema  said, “…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.

“Passing” is all that a substantial number ex-gay programs really care about, simply because it is the best-case scenario anyone can truly hope for. Exodus International president Alan Chambers often says that he struggles daily to keep from doing “what comes naturally to me.” But constantly struggling to pass can carry with it enormous consequences. Again, Kirk Murphy’s case is illustrative. As a very young boy, he was taught that revealing who he really was would have dangerous physical consequences for him, and so as he got older he continued to suppress his emerging sexuality, fully aware that “I can’t act that way or people will know that I’m different.” He suppressed it so successfully that his doctors at UCLA did not notice that Kirk not only wasn’t straight, but also was under tremendous emotional duress.

Today, all major medical, mental health, and counseling organizations oppose ex-gay therapy. 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. But of course, patients going into clinics like Bachmann’s will never know it. There is no such thing as informed consent in those kinds of settings:

[Becker] was never informed about possible alternative treatment options such as gay-affirmative therapy. Nobody ever told Becker about the potential for harmful side effects like depression and suicidal thoughts. And although he was asked to sign a treatment plan outlining his problem, desired outcome, and treatment strategy, he was never given nor asked to sign any kind of informed consent document that disclosed the above information about “ex-gay” therapy. As such, we believe Bachmann & Associates to be practicing unethically, even by the standards of the American Association of Christian Counselors. This is particularly disconcerting given the fact that Marcus Bachmann’s clinic has received significant funding from the State of Minnesota and the federal government.

You can read Becker’s first hand account here.

Marcus Bachmann’s Ex-Gay Problem

Jim Burroway

July 7th, 2011

This is very old news, but it certainly is worth bringing up again now that Rep. Michele Bachmann is mounting a serious campaign to capture the GOP nomination for the presidency. In 2006, the Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages ran an extensive profile of Michele Bachmann (via archive.org) just as she was about to be elected to Congress for the first time. The profile delved into Bachmann’s extremist religious and political background, and how her use of anti-gay politics as a wedge issue drove a wedge between Bachmann and her own family — which includes a gay stepsister.

The profile also revealed that her husband, Marcus Bachmann has played an important part in her political and religious development. In the Bachmann’s worldview, the man is the head of the household, and the wife is subservient to her husband. As Marcus Bachmann’s older brother explains it, “He is her godly husband… The husband is to be the head of the wife, according to God.” Michele told one church congregation in 2006 that she pursued her degree in tax law only because her husband had told her to. “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands,” she is quoted as saying. All of which makes Dr. Bachmann’s views all the more relevant, and the 2006 City Pages report (via archive.org) pertinent:

While Michele Bachmann was rising through the political ranks, her husband Marcus—a lumbering, soft-featured man—was working toward a psychology doctorate and a practice in Lake Elmo. There is an overt Christian theme attached to the practice. “Bachmann and Associates believes in providing all clients with quality counseling in a Christian environment,” reads the mission statement on the business’s website. Some of the listed specialties of the clinic and its counselors include “abuse issues,” “co-dependency,” “men’s and women’s issues,” “shame,” and “spiritual issues.”

But some observers claim that the mission of the practice includes counseling homosexuals in an effort to “ungay” them. “It is absolutely sincere,” adds former school board member (Mary) Cecconi. “They specialize in ‘reparation’ regarding sexual orientation.”

Marcus Bachmann, who is also 50, denies that is part of his clinic’s practice. “That’s a false statement,” he says, refusing to answer any questions that don’t have to do with Bachmann and Associates. “Am I aware that the perception is out there? I can’t comment on that.” Still, Bachmann offers, “If someone is interested in talking to us about their homosexuality, we are open to talking about that. But if someone comes in a homosexual and they want to stay homosexual, I don’t have a problem with that.”

City Pages found evidence that Dr. Bachmann has more than a passing interest in the ex-gay movement:

Last November (2005), the Bachmanns attended a “Minnesota Pastors’ Summit” at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. Some 300 religious leaders participated in the event, which was organized by the conservative, antigay Minnesota Family Council. Michele Bachmann was there to lead a session on the gay marriage amendment, while Marcus offered a presentation titled “The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda.”

Curt Prins, a 35-year-old marketing executive from Minneapolis, attended. Prins, who is gay, says he went because he was “curious” and wanted to “understand the language” of the antigay movement. “There was so much bile, I nearly had to leave,” Prins recalls. For Marcus Bachmann’s session, Prins says there were more than 100 people crammed in a room at Grace, and most of the presentation involved stereotypes of gays. “He was saying how homosexuality was a choice, that it was not genetics,” Prins says. “He was claiming there was a high predominance of sexual abuse in the GLBT community. There was no research to back any of this up.” (Marcus Bachmann refused to answer questions about the seminar.)

The climax of the presentation was when, according to Prins, Bachmann brought up “three ex-gays, like part of a PowerPoint presentation.” The trio, two white men and a black woman, all testified that they had renounced their homosexuality. “One of them said, ‘If I was born gay, then I’ll have to be born again,’” Prins recalls. “The crowd went crazy.”

While Bachmann claims that charges that he engages in ex-gay therapy are “a false statement,” he clearly has an interest in the ex-gay movement. In a radio interview last year, he discussed what kind of advice he would give to parents who came into his practice with a child who they feared might be gay. Speaking specifically of those children, Bachmann said:

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.

Likening gay kids to barbarians who “need to be disciplined” raises all sorts of red flags for the kind of treatment those children might experience based on Bachmann’s advice. Just last month, we revealed the story of five year old Kirk Andrew Murphy who was treated to a draconian disciplining program under the direction of George Rekers. Rekers would go on to hold Kirk up as his most dramatic success story throughout his career. That career, like the Bachmann’s, took a turn towards anti-gay politics in the 1980s when he co-founded the Family Research Council, and then further in the 1990s and 2000s with the ex-gay movement when he served on the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Committee for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Bachmann’s statement indicates that he would favor an approach to gender-variant children that would share similarities to Rekers’s, with all of the potential that has for further suffering and tragedy.

Questions about Bachmann’s practice go beyond the ethical. There are also legal considerations as well,  specifically the reported $100,000 in Medicaid payments his practice has taken in over the years. Did U.S. tax dollars go towards financing that scientifically discredited and dangerous practice to “cure” something that is not an illness? Again, we are reminded that Kirk Murphy’s “treatment” by George Rekerswas also paid for by taxpayer dollars through grants from the National Institute of Mental Health. And we also know that, according to Rekers, at least one hundred other children endured similar therapy at UCLA in the 1970s and 1980s, much of it on the government dime.

Today, all major medical, mental health, and counseling organizations oppose ex-gay therapy. 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. If Bachmannis performing ex-gay therapy, either directly or indirectly through the advice he is giving parents, then an investigation into what those Medicaid payments goes for is warranted.

Marcus Bachmann: Gays are Barbarians Who “Need To Be Disciplined”

Jim Burroway

June 30th, 2011

Last Summer, Marcus Bachmann, husband and political strategist to GOP Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on a conservative radio talk show to explain his views of gay people:

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(at 3:36) 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.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Bachmann reportedly operates an ex-gay therapy program in Minnesota (via archive.org).