ABC News’ Tara Evans reports:
Is counseling someone to abandon homosexuality a legitimate form of therapy?
“What Would You Do?” tackled this controversial question by hiring two actors to portray a gay teen and a religious counselor promising to help the teen “pray away the gay,” and change his sexual orientation. We wanted to see how customers at a Stacks Pancake House in Paramus, N.J. would react to the counselor’s efforts and the teen’s obvious discomfort. While one couple was supportive of the counselor — watch a sneak peek below — many others were opposed to his actions.
The effort to change someone’s sexuality through therapy — known as reparative therapy or conversion therapy — made national headlines after it was learned that the husband of a Republican presidential candidate runs a clinic that reportedly practices reparative therapy.
Marcus Bachmann, husband of former GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, has a clinic in suburban Minneapolis. One former Bachmann & Associates patient Andrew Ramirez, who was 17 in 2004 when he was treated at Bachmann’s clinic, told ABC News, “[One counselor's] path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay. And God would forgive me if I were straight.”
Marcus Bachmann was asked in 2006 by a local newspaper if his clinic attempted to convert gay patients. “That’s a false statement,” he said.
“If someone is interested in talking to us about their homosexuality, we are open to talking about that,” he reportedly said. “But if someone comes in a homosexual and they want to stay homosexual, I don’t have a problem with that.”
The official stance of the American Psychological Association is that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. As such, it need not be cured and reparative therapy could be harmful.
How do you feel about the idea of trying to “convert” someone away from homosexuality? Let us know by voting below and watch the whole scenario play out on “What Would You Do?” tonight at 10 p.m. ET.