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LGBT groups say voters deserve to know Bachmann’s true stance on ‘ex-gay’ therapy

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/MahurinElephant_Thumb.jpgAs The Minnesota Independent previously reported, ABC News recently released an undercover video of Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling clinic run by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and husband Marcus, made by the LGBT advocacy group Truth Wins Out (TWO). In the video, one of the Bachmanns’ employees is conducting “reparative therapy” on the undercover patient, who tells the therapist he is gay but wants to be straight.

The ABC story has caused controversy in the Bachmann camp — not just because of the divisive statements Marcus Bachmann has made about gay men and lesbians (such as calling them “barbarians”) and not just because he has denied allegations that the Minnesota-based clinic has conducted so-called “ex-gay therapy.” What is really making LGBT groups and fume over this inside look into the Bachmanns’ treatment center is the fact that GOP presidential nominee contender Michele Bachmann refuses to comment on the matter, instead stating that a patient-doctor confidentiality agreement precludes her from discussing the type of therapy conducted at her family clinic.

The realities of Bachmann’s family business is not just of interest to gay and lesbian voters, but to all Americans, said Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, noting that Bachmann’s response to media over this controversy has been to say that the matter is irrelevant to her push for the presidency. But it isn’t, Nipper said.

“She owes it to the American voters,” Nipper told The American Independent. “People need to know who they’re voting for.”

Organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have dismissed reparative therapy as unscientific and harmful for many years.

“It’s sad and shameful that anyone would be practicing reparative therapy at this point,” Nipper said.

In response to the new Bachmann controversy, National LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) recently started a “Call it Out” campaign, which will specifically track “the homophobic activities and positions of Bachmann and her husband.” HRC issued a statement Tuesday, calling on all GOP presidential candidates to “disavow the dangerous ‘ex-gay’ or ‘reparative’ therapies endorsed by Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus.”

HRC’s call to candidates is not just in response to the TWO investigation but to a pledge created by Iowa’s Christian policy group the Family Leader called “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family.” Bachmann has signed this pledge, along with presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

“Michele Bachmann’s homophobic views are out of step with mainstream America, and it’s time for her fellow GOP presidential contenders to publicly denounce them,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese in the statement. “The past few years we’ve seen a surge in support for equality and have made important legislative progress. Bachmann’s support for things like reparative therapy signals just how fringe a candidate she really is.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) on Tuesday released a report about the science community’s assessment of “ex-gay” and reparative therapy.

It is important to remember that the political and pseudoscientific groups that promote this idea do not rely on – and have long been discredited by — credible social science research. There are no modern, peer-reviewed studies that support so-called “ex-gay” groups or lend credibility to their outdated and long-abandoned theories about the nature of sexual orientation.

[...]

So many of these programs create guilt, shame, anxiety and fear in parents who have gay kids – or who may be questioning whether their child is gay. Such attempts to turn parents against their children can lead to resentment, ugliness, distrust and divided families. And in the end it’s the child who is put in harm’s way.

GLAAD cites the negative views on the type of therapy Bachmann & Associates is accused of promoting from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Counseling Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Social Workers.

Patrick McAlvey, of Ann Arbor, Mich., underwent such “ex-gay” therapy as a teenager and recently spoke about his situation with Truth Wins Out.

McAlvey spoke to the Michigan Messenger about his concerns that the Bachmanns’ clinic has received federal and state funds — $137,000 in Medicaid funds and another $30,000 in state funds, NBC News has reported.

McAlvey told Michigan Messenger:

“For years, Minnesotan taxpayers and the federal government have been footing the bill as Dr. Marcus Bachmann and his clinic have engaged patients in dangerous and unethical ‘ex-gay’ therapy. It’s time for the Bachmanns to answer for their actions and explain exactly what they’ve been doing with tax-payer money all this time. If Michele Bachmann is going to use her husband’s clinic as part of her qualification for the highest office in our country, it is shocking and more than a little damning that she has not been willing to discuss the details of what goes on at this clinic.”

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