Originally published on Advocate.com July 15 2011 8:25 AM ET
Marcus Bachmann defended his Christian counseling group in an interview published Friday by the Minneapolis-Star Tribune. He denied that the family-run business has an antigay agenda — even if so-called reparative therapy is an option for clients.
"Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion,” Bachmann said when asked by the newspaper about use of the thoroughly discredited therapy form at his clinics. "We don't have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone.”
John Becker, director of communications and development for Truth Wins Out, recently posed as a client seeking counseling for homosexuality. During five sessions, a Bachmann & Associates counselor told Becker that same-sex attraction "is there, and it's real, but at the core value, in terms of how God created us, we're all heterosexual." (Read Becker’s account of the sessions in a recent op-ed here.)
Bachmann also denied that he ever used the word “barbarians” in reference to gay people during a 2010 radio talk show interview and claimed that his comments had been doctored. "I was talking in reference to children. Nothing, nothing to do with homosexuality,” Bachmann said. “That's not my mindset. That's not my belief system. That's not the way I would talk.”
Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen accused Bachmann — whose wife, Rep. Michele Bachmann, has a strong lead over fellow GOP presidential candidates in Iowa according to one poll released this week — of lying about his practice and allowing a form of treatment opposed by the mental health establishment to be used at clinics, which have received $137,000 in Medicaid funds since 2005.
“Bachmann & Associates was under no obligation to offer a quack therapy treatment that is rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health association in America,” Besen said in a Friday statement. “Taking a client's hard-earned money for a ‘cure’ that is not possible is unethical and a form of consumer fraud.”
Read the Star-Tribune article here.