Over the past week, controversy has swirled around Rep. Michele Bachmann’s husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann. The Christian counselor has been lambasted for his clinic’s alleged use of "reparative therapy" (a controversial counseling approach that seeks to alleviate individuals of their same-sex attraction). Now, Bachmann has come forward to defend his clinic and to dispel what he believes are misconceptions regarding his stance on homosexuality. He responded to these issues in an interview with the Twin Cities' Star Tribune:
In it, Bachmann explains that his Christian business is not focused on converting homosexuals and he denies that he ever called gays “barbarians” -- an allegation that stems from a radio interview he granted back in 2010. The Star Tribune reports that Bachmann believes someone may have doctored the publicized recording. He says:
"I was talking in reference to children. Nothing, nothing to do with homosexuality. That's not my mindset. That's not my belief system. That's not the way I would talk."
Also, Bachmann insists that converting gays isn't something that is at the forefront of his clinic's mission. Although he didn't deny that he or other counselors have attempted to engage in converting patients, he said that such a measure would only be taken at a patient's request. As a business that uses faith to treat individuals suffering from depression or anxiety, the use of Christianity to address this issue, in his view, follows suit. He explains:
"Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about it. Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion. We don't have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone."
Considering his wife's stances on government, Bachmann has also come under fire for accepting state and federal subsidies. But, he claims that these monies have come in as a result of his refusal to discriminate against low-income patients who have subsidized health care coverage. He says:
"It's low income. It's people who are on limited income. It is a lower-paying insurance. It's not a money maker. ... So, gee, we get criticized because we take it. And somehow they tie it all in, into my wife because she's the big proponent of less taxes and less programs and so forth.
So, over and over the bell rings about how we take this federal money. Oooh, how evil that is. And I say to you: 'No. It would be evil not to.'"
Much of the controversy over Bachmann's clinic erupted after John Becker, a gay rights activist who lives in Vermont, engaged in a sting operation there last month. He posed as a patient who was looking for a “cure” to same-sex attraction. He then posted information about the experience online and worked with media to spread the word.
In an e-mail to The Blaze, Becker's employer, Wayne Besen, claims that the full video (not just the snippets released to media) would be released "hopefully" in the next week or two. This complete video may shed further light on the clinic's practices. But, if it shows Becker asking fervently for Christian counseling to alleviate his same-sex attraction, it will substantiate Bachmann's claim that such treatment comes at the patient's request.
Only time will tell if Bachmann's responses will be enough to stem the growing controversy following the secret sting operation.