Michele Bachmann's clinic accused of trying to straighten out gays
A clinic owned by GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, is being accused of telling homosexuals that they can "pray away the gay."
Andrew Ramirez was a patient at Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling clinic in Lake Elmo, Minn., in 2004. He claims he was told by one of the clinic's counselors that if he read the Bible and prayed to God, he "would no longer be gay," according to ABC News.
Ramirez told the Nation that the therapist tried to "cure" him of his homosexuality. “He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” and offered the assistance of an ex-lesbian as a mentor, Ramirez said.
Undercover video at Bachmann's clinic taped by gay rights advocates reportedly showing therapists engaged in treatment similar to what Ramirez claims will be shown on "Nightline" on Monday, ABC says.
Bachmann is no stranger to anti-gay rhetoric. Her strategist-husband last year said homosexuals were barbarians who needed to be disciplined.
"We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps," Marcus Bachmann said as a guest on the Christian-based "Point of View" radio talk show on May 12, 2010.
Bachmann's clinic has collected over $137,000 in annual Medicaid payments for the treatment of patients since 2005, NBC News said.
It will be curious to see whether the allegations damage the momentum Bachmann has enjoyed over the last few weeks.
The conservative congresswoman from Minnesota, who grew up in Iowa, found herself leading the pack in a poll released Monday. Bachmann received 25% of the support of the 500 likely caucus voters polled by the Iowa Republican in the state from June 26 through June 30. Mitt Romney came in a close second with 21%; Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain were next with 9% each.
Bachmann, a "tea party" darling who recently signed a controversial anti-gay pact, had the highest favorability number (76) while getting the lowest unfavorable figure (11). Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received the highest unfavorable number at 52.
-- Tony Pierce
Photo: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) campaigns in Iowa. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Reuters