ABC News’ Russell Goldman (@GoldmanRussell) reports:
Marcus Bachmann, husband of GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, defended his Christian counseling clinic and denied that his business offered to convert gay men to become straight.
The Bachmanns own two clinics in Minnesota, and have recently come under fire after hidden camera footage shot by activists and aired on ABC News showed a therapist telling a gay man how he could become attracted to women.
In an interview with the Star Tribune, Bachmann said his clinics do not offer “reparative” therapy, a practice the American Psychological Association has deemed ineffective and unsafe, but said they would provide similar services if a patient asked for them.
“Will I address it? Certainly we’ll talk about it,” Bachmann told the paper. “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,” Bachmann said.
Bachmann also denied to the paper that he had called homosexuals “barbarians” in a 2010 radio interview that has been widely quoted.
“We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated,” Bachmann is heard saying in a recording of the interview. “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.”
Bachmann said the recording had been doctored.
Bachmann has also come under scrutiny for using federal and state funds at the clinic he and his wife own, given Rep. Michele Bachmann’s disdain for federal handouts.
According to the Associated Press the clinics have accepted at least $30,000 in state funds and $137,000 in federal payments. The AP has also reported the clinic received an additional $24,000 in federal funds to train staff.
Bachmann said those training sessions actually cost him money, because his employees were being trained rather than meeting with paying customers.
Bachmann himself has become a target for those comments perceived as anti-gay. The singer Cher assailed him on Twitter, and comedian Jon Stewart this week devoted a segment of The Daily Show to his comments.