Hidden Camera Finds Reparative Therapy at Bachmann's Clinics

New evidence has surfaced that Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinics are actually in the business of so-called reparative therapy for gay people — a claim that he had denied.

BY Lucas Grindley

July 09 2011 9:25 AM ET

New evidence has surfaced that Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinics are actually in the business of so-called reparative therapy for gay people — a claim that he had denied.

His wife, Michele Bachmann, a top Republican candidate for president, had clearly endorsed reparative therapy over the years by giving the welcome blessing at a Love Won Out conference in 2004 and by endorsing a book written by a woman who claims to be an ex-lesbian. But Marcus Bachmann had been coy about whether his team of approximately 20 therapists offer their help in supposedly turning gay people straight.

After giving a presentation called “The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda” to a group of Minnesota pastors in 2005, Marcus Bachmann told a local newspaper, “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.” And that’s all anyone’s known about what happens to gay people at his clinics until now.

Truth Wins Out was formed in part to combat the myth that gays can be converted to straight, and it sent a hidden camera into Marcus Bachmann’s office with a man posing as a patient. On the tape, counselor Timothy Wiertzema reportedly assures that “It’s possible to be totally free of [same-sex attraction]. For sure.” He claims, “It’s happened! It really has happened to people.”

The undercover activist — John Becker — attended five sessions at the clinic. The plan of action by his therapist: “I really am going to recommend that we start working on how you can develop your attraction towards women.”

With these tapes, it will be hard for Marcus Bachmann to avoid accusations he performs reparative therapy, which is considered dangerous by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association. What might also complicate the situation for Marcus Bachmann is his company’s acceptance of government funding.

“The facts plainly show that Bachmann’s clinic does try to cure gay people and he is being evasive when he claims otherwise,” said Wayne Besen, the group’s executive director.

The Nation was the first to report on the Truth Wins Out sting, and for its part, it found a patient who says he was the victim of an attempted conversion. Andrew Ramirez said his stepfather brought him to the clinic after he came out during high school.

Ramirez told The Nation that his counselor said “being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes” and prescribed prayer and reading the Bible as part of a “cure.”

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