PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF: Michelle Bachmann’s Husband Runs ‘Gay Cure’ Clinic With Taxpayer Funds


THE NATION: As Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann has surged in the polls, the spotlight has turned on her husband and main political adviser, Marcus Bachmann, who has a PhD in clinical psychology and owns two Christian counseling centers in Minnesota. There has been a great deal of speculation that his clinics, which have received $161,000 in state and federal funding, try to cure homosexuality—and the chatter has only grown louder since his comments likening gays to “barbarians” who “need to be educated” and “disciplined” surfaced in the blogosphere last week. Marcus Bachmann has denied these allegations. “That’s a false statement,” he replied when the Minneapolis City Pages asked if his clinic tried to cure gays. And until now there was no firm evidence to back these allegations up. But information obtained by The Nation suggests that Bachmann & Associates therapists do, in fact, try to change sexual orientation. It also sheds new light on the Bachmanns’ embrace of the controversial ex-gay movement and related psychological approaches, which portray homosexuality as a disease to be rooted out. Some of the most potent material was provided by Truth Wins Out, a gay rights group that opposes the ex-gay movement. In late June, a Truth Wins Out activist named John Becker donned two hidden cameras—one embedded in a wristwatch—and attended five treatment sessions at Bachmann’s Lake Elmo clinic. Becker, who is openly gay, presented himself as a committed Christian who was struggling with homosexuality. The video he collected seems to confirm Ramirez’s allegations that staff members at Bachmann & Associates try to change sexual orientation. Gay_Forever.jpgBecker’s therapist (another of Marcus Bachmann’s employees) repeatedly assured him that homosexuality could be overcome. “At the core value…in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual,” he explained, according to the footage. “God has created you for heterosexuality.” MORE

MARCUS BACHMANN: “We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated,” he said. “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 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.” MORE

RELATED: Most professional psychologists view reparative therapy skeptically, to say the least. In 2007 the American Psychological Association assembled a task force to study the effectiveness of this approach. After spending two years sifting through the available research—it evaluated eighty-three studies dating back to 1960—the group concluded that there was scant evidence that sexual orientation could be changed. What’s more, it found that attempting to do so could cause depression and suicidal tendencies among patients. Based on these findings, in 2009 the APA voted to repudiate reparative therapy by a margin of 125 to 4. MORE

RELATED: Dr. Bachmann, who recently called himself his wife’s “strategist,” has acted as her media planner, traveling assistant and even personal shopper. They share a bond born of a mutual religious awakening in high school and college, a deep faith in an especially conservative form of Lutheranism, and a common abhorrence of homosexuality. MORE

RELATED: “It’s pretty much a given that the most vociferously homophobic men are usually repressing something. But, oh Mary, Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus takes the ever-loving cake. He’s a cure-the-gay therapist out of a John Waters movie. I haven’t seen flames this high since the last California wildfire…” MORE

RELATED: The gay blogosphere has been buzzing in recent days about a candid video posted online that shows the husband of Michele Bachmann sashaying down a hallway with a drag queen’s strut and an audio of him speaking out against gays in a high-pitched, almost lisping voice. MORE

RELATED: A document signed by Michele Bachmann is drawing allegations of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Islamic sentiment and general cuckoo bananas whackadoodie. It’s a pledge from a conservative advocacy group out of Iowa called The Family Leader—affiliated with Focus on the Family—asking Republican presidential candidates to denounce single parents, women in combat and anything with even the faintest whiff of gay. Oh, and it seems to be wistful for the days of slavery. If none of that frightens you, it also essentially calls for a ban of all pornography. Michele Bachmann was the first of the GOP field to apply her Hancock. Here are some select passages from The Marriage VowMORE

THE MARRIAGE VOW: “Practices such as adultery, bisexuality, homosexuality, anal intercourse, group sex, promiscuity, serial marriage, polygamy, polyandry and extramarital sex, individually or collectively, (do not) lead to general improvements in incidence of…Practices such as adultery, bisexuality, homosexuality, anal intercourse, group sex, promiscuity, serial marriage, polygamy, polyandryHaggard_Gay_Cure.pngand extramarital sex, individually or collectively, (do not) lead to general improvements in incidence of anal incontinence.” MORE

THE MARRIAGE VOW: “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.” MORE

RELATED: When the full scale of the internet backlash was clear, the Iowa group that devised the pledge, the FAMiLY LEADER removed the paragraph on slavery. But the damage had been done, in that Bachmann, as well as her fellow presidential candidate Rick Santorum, had already signed the unexpurgated version. To rub salt into the wound, Nate Silver, the New York Times’s razor-sharp political statistician, pointed out on his Twitter account that the highly dubious claim about black families had in fact come from a research paper from the Institute for American Values that referred to the period 1880-1910 and had nothing to do with slavery in any case. MORE

TALKING POINTS MEMO: The new issue of the Michele Bachmann comic, False Witness! The Michele Bachmann Story, is now out on sale. The producers of the comic appear to be taking a thematic approach in the series, dedicating an issue to a particular area of Bachmann’s right-wing obsessions — and they’ve done a great job of it in this issue. This episode: The gays. As for the treatment of the subject matter, the creators set out to make a serious point: That Bachmann has advanced her career on a platform of singling out a group within society for hatred and ostracism, and that this is a highly dangerous thing to do.The book sets out to illustrate the negative consequences of a demagogue politician singling out a group within society for hatred in order to advance their careers. The book might push the envelope a bit with an invocation of Hitler, but on the other hand hand here is a beautiful example of what can happen when a “satirical” comic is built entirely from real-life quotes of an absurd public figure. This page depicts numerous instances of Bachmann repeating the exact same anti-gay rhetoric, accusing those nasty homosexuals of trying to recruit the children. MORE

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann touts one job as her primary professional experience before entering politics. On the campaign trail, she describes it as being a “federal tax litigation attorney.” Others might call it tax collector. Ms. Bachmann spent four years with the Internal Revenue Service district counsel office in St. Paul, Minn., from 1988 to 1992, and “worked on hundreds of civil and criminal cases,” according to her congressional website. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: TEMPEST IN A TEA PARTY: That Michelle Bachmann Is No Lady — She’s Joe McCarthy In A Dress!

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