This story has been slowly creeping into the mainstream press since Friday and I’ve purposely held off commenting on the issue in an attempt to separate my intense dislike and distrust for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) from my anger and repulsion at her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, and his mental health clinic that is now being accused of performing “ex-gay” therapy on homosexuals at taxpayer’s expense.
The investigation was conducted by Truth Wins Out (TWO), a non-profit organization that fights anti-gay extremism and disinformation. TWO sent one of its own staff members, John Becker to the clinic owned by Bachmann’s husband, armed with an undercover camera, and underwent five therapy sessions with Bachmann & Associates counselor Timothy Wiertzman.
Both Michele and Marcus Bachmann have repeatedly denied that the clinic performs so-called “reparative” therapy on gays. TWO’s Executive Director Wayne Besen removed all doubt in an interview with The Nation:
“The results of our investigation should end all doubt whether Marcus Bachmann’s clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person’s sexual orientation,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The facts plainly show that Bachmann’s clinic does try to cure gay people and he is being evasive when he claims otherwise.”
“It’s time for Michele and Marcus Bachmann to stop denying, dodging, and stonewalling,” added Truth Wins Out’s Communications and Development Director John Becker. “They owe it to all Americans to provide a full and honest explanation for their embrace of these dangerous and fraudulent practices.”
During one of the sessions 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 said, “…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 attraction towards women.”
Becker was never given nor asked to sign any kind of informed consent document that disclosed the dangers of or alternatives to “ex-gay” therapy. As such, TWO believes Bachmann & Associates to be practicing unethically, even by the standards of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Such therapy is considered ineffective and potentially harmful by The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The American Psychiatric Association.
For sale inside the clinic was Minnesota “ex-gay” minister Janet Boynes’ book Called Out. It was accompanied by a typewritten note featuring Mr. Bachmann’s endorsement: “Janet is a friend. I recommend this book as she speaks to the heart of the matter and gives practical insights of truth to set people free. – Marcus Bachmann, PhD.”
“It appears that the Bachmann family is trying to distance themselves from some of their more extreme beliefs in an attempt to appeal to mainstream Americans,” said TWO’s Besen. “We think it is important that voters have accurate information and we hope our investigation sheds some light on their genuine views.”
I have to admit that as a blogger, activist, and as a gay man, I am taking particular delight in this revelation. I now pledge myself to increasing efforts to make sure that not only does Rep. Bachmann never get close to sitting in the Oval Office, but that her husband never practice “mental health” on another individual ever again.
ABC Nightly News led tonight’s broadcast with this story.
NOTE: Additional background video on Marcus Bachmann follows the ABC report below.
Listen to Dr. Marcus Bachmann call homosexuals “barbarians” who need “discipline”:
WATCH this curious video of Dr. Bachmann: