The husband of GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is defending his Christian counseling business amid reports that he used state and federal funding to try and turn gay people straight.
In a lengthy interview with the Star Tribune, Marcus Bachmann said that Bachmann and Associates is not focused on turning homosexuals into heterosexuals, as has been reported. He did not deny that counselors at his clinics have attempted to convert gay patients but said it only took place when a patient asked. “It is at the client’s discretion,” he said.
His comments come after reports earlier this week – including an article in The Nation and a report on ABC Nightline – that Bachmann-run clinics were practicing counseling methods that many denounce as homophobic, and are opposed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and other professional groups.
The paper also asked Bachmann about a 2010 radio recording in which he seems to refer to homosexual people as "barbarians."
The quote in question:
We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. And just because someone feels it or thinks it, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to go down that road.
Bachmann says the recording was doctored and that he was discussing child discipline. He called the idea that he would call gay people barbarians a “myth.”
NBC reported in June that Bachmann’s Lake Elmo, Minn., clinic had received more than $137,000 in Medicaid funds since 2005. This was in addition to the $24,000 in state and federal funds used to train its counselors.