In today’s Washington Post, Jason Horowitz profiles Michele and Marcus Bachmann, noting the couple’s extreme anti-gay views and links to “pray away the gay” therapy. Michele Bachmann — who came to prominence for sponsoring a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Minnesota — has called gay marriage “probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, 30 years” and described her lesbian step-sister as leading “a very sad life” that’s “part of Satan.”
Marcus Bachmann can be even more blunt. He compared homosexuals to “barbarians” who “need to be disciplined,” and in 2005 delivered a presentation during which he “introduced three people as ‘former homosexuals’ as proof that sexual orientation is a choice.” Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinics have also been rumored to perform “reparative therapy,” a charge he denies while reiterating the notion that gay and lesbian individuals choose to be attracted to people of the same sex. “[I]f someone comes in a homosexual and they want to stay homosexual, I don’t have a problem with that,” he said.
But Michele Bachmann has gone even further in endorsing the discredited ex-gay movement. In 2004, as ex-gay proponents “Love Won Out” prepared to hold their annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota for those “struggling with unwanted homosexuality,” Bachmann not only lent a quote for the group’s press release but also “opened the conference with a greeting and blessing.” From the release:
“We are so pleased that Minneapolis has invited us back to share again that change is possible for those who are no longer satisfied with their homosexuality,” said Mike Haley, host of the Love Won Out conference, a former homosexual and the author of the book 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality. “In fact, we have been officially welcomed by Minnesota Sen. Michele Bachmann, the author of the state marriage-protection amendment.”
Though her amendment was blocked in the Legislature, Bachmann remains committed to protecting marriage and looks forward to hearing about the causes of same-sex attraction.
“I know that Love Won Out will present the truth about homosexuality,” Bachmann said, “and present it in a compassionate and loving manner. Those of us working to safeguard marriage from redefinition by radical judges must inform our efforts with an understanding of the deep emotional wounds that many in the homosexual community carry. I look forward to welcoming Minnesotans and residents of surrounding states to hear the message of healing that is possible.”
The “truth” of Love Won Out and other ex-gay organizations has been discredited by professional medical organizations, who see reparative counseling as harmful to gay people. Both the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association — among other groups — have ruled that efforts to change sexual orientation have no scientific credibility and can cause psychological harm to patients. As a recent revelations about Dr. George Rekers’ efforts to change the sexual orientation of a 7-year-old boy reveal, sometimes that therapy can lead to deadly consequences.