Are you gay and wish you weren’t? In Minnesota, there’s a Bachmann who can help you out with that.
Two gay former patients of Marcus Bachmann’s Lake Elmo, MN counseling center are talking to the press about the so-called homosexual “reparative therapy” Bachmann offers at his clinic. Bachmann — husband of surging presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — has long denied he peddles the universally-rejected theory that prayer and Bible study can turn a gay person straight. But now there’s video that shows reparative therapy was on offer at the clinic just weeks ago.
Andrew Ramirez, who was sent to Bachmann’s clinic while a senior in high school after he came out to his parents in 2004, told The Nation that a counselor at Bachmann’s clinic “set about trying to ‘cure’ him” by reading the Bible. “particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination.”
John Becker, a gay LGBT rights activist who lives Vermont, traveled to Bachmann’s clinic in June carrying a hidden camera and posing as a patient looking for a “cure” to his sexual orientation. On the website for the organization he works for, Truth Wins Out, Becker detailed his sessions with clinic counselor Timothy Wiertzema, who suggested Becker find a “heterosexual accountability buddy” to help fight urges and reminded Backer that “in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual.”
Wiertzema also offered his take on how Becker may have “become” gay in the first place:
[Wiertzema] insinuated that “there’s maybe a feminine sort of tie” between my self-consciousness about my high speaking voice and my sexuality concerns and that I had somehow conditioned myself to respond sexually to male stimuli by masturbating to gay pornography. After I mentioned a (fictitious) memory of discovering a hidden stash of male pornographic images in the bedroom of a friend’s older sibling, he said that this experience “obviously… had at least a little bit of a part” in the development of my homosexuality and asked, “What if you would have saw [sic] female pornography [instead]? Maybe you would be talking to me right now about your addiction to lust.”
For his part, Bachmann has denied his clinic does the so-called reparative therapy that professional mental health groups dismiss as without foundation and downright dangerous to the patients who are subjected to it. But those denials are going to be harder to sell now that Becker’s handed his hidden camera footage to ABC.
Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign refused to discuss the treatment stories with ABC.
“Those matters are protected by patient-client confidentiality,” the campaign told the network.
Watch ABC’s Brian Ross talk praying the gay away with Ramirez and Becker:
The new revelations are just one of the controversies surrounding the clinics the Bachmann campaign has to content with as the presidential campaign ramps up. Last month, NBC News revealed that Bachmann’s clinic banked more than $130,000 in government assistance checks, just the the kind of spending Bachmann herself often rejects on the campaign trail.