An investigation by Truth Wins Out revealed Friday that the clinic of Marcus Bachmann, the husband of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN), practices reparative therapy, a controversial and discredited clinical method designed to "cure" gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. TWO's findings contradict claims by Mr. Bachmann that he and his clinic, Bachmann & Associates, do not participate in reparative therapy. The story broke Friday in The Nation magazine where Mariah Blake reported on the results of our investigation.
"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 a weeklong Truth Wins Out undercover investigation inside Bachmann & Associates with hidden cameras, Becker, attended five private sessions with Bachmann & Associates counselor Timothy Wiertzema.
The undeniable goal of the sessions was transforming Becker from homosexual to heterosexual. To his credit, the counselor did not claim that change would be instantaneous or even complete. However, he did explicitly promise that sexual conversion could occur as a result of prayer and therapy at the clinic.
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."
At no time during the therapy was homosexuality portrayed as a natural variation of human sexuality. Instead it was presented as a treatable condition at odds with a normal and healthy sexual orientation. Becker was told by Wiertzema that "God designed our eyes to be attracted to the woman's body, to be attracted to everything, to be attracted to her breasts." Furthermore, according to Timothy, "We're all heterosexuals, but we have different challenges." Attraction to the same sex "is there, and it's real, but at the core value, in terms of how God created us, we're all heterosexual."
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.
"What I found was particularly disconcerting given the fact that Marcus Bachmann's clinic has received significant funding from the State of Minnesota and the federal government," said Becker.
For sale inside the clinic wasMinnesota "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."
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.
Steve Publicover is a veteran LGBT rights activist and blogger living in the Charlotte, NC area. Steve has an extensive background in public speaking, advocacy and education. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.