Here's Marcus Bachmann's defense of his clinic's habit of trying to "cure" gays: Only if they ask for it! Also, he claims, dubiously, that the audio of him calling gays barbarians was "doctored."
Word of Bachmann's "reparative therapy" — opposed by every respectable medical group as ineffective and exacerbating potential mental health stresses — is clearly turning into a liability, so he turned to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to, um, set the record straight.
On trying to "reverse" homosexuality, Bachmann said, "Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about it. Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion."
Similarly, of the widely-reported sting operation orchestrated by Truth Wins Out, Bachmann said, "This individual came to us under a false pretense. The truth of the matter is he specifically asked for help.'' (Please note that his wife has no problem with right-wing sting operations of dubious provenance.) Truth Wins Out doesn't deny that their operative asked to be cured, but points out that there's no reason a therapist, however flimsily qualified, should offer to do something that is neither effective nor healthy.
What about the other claim? He isn't quoted directly saying the recording was tampered with, but the Star-Tribune paraphrases him, using the word "doctored." Bachmann is also quoted saying, "I was talking in reference to children. Nothing, nothing to do with homosexuality. That's not my mindset. That's not my belief system. That's not the way I would talk," Bachmann said.
The quote first resurfaced at the end of June, but the interview took place on a radio show called Point of View in May 2010, and the Bachmanns haven't said a word about any tampering to date.
Here's a recording put up by a Minnesota politics blog that makes loud record-scratch noises every time it cuts away. It doesn't make any such noise in the relevant portion, which comes around 2:50. All that seems to have been "doctored" is that in some replayings, the middle portion was cut. But in either case, there's no indication that the meaning has been changed or that Bachmann meant anything but gay teens when he said "barbarians" needed to be educated, unless you want to make a tortured semantic argument.
The only thing we could agree with Bachmann about, sort of, is his pushback to criticism that his clinic takes federal money — state grants, Medicaid funds — while his wife opposes big government. He told The Tribune that this was in order to accept low-income patients: "So, over and over the bell rings about how we take this federal money. Oooh, how evil that is. And I say to you: 'No. It would be evil not to.'"
That's true, sort of. It's evil to turn away Medicaid patients, and even in her most wild-eyed moments, Michele Bachmann has never proposed the wholesale dissolution of the entire federal government (after all, she wants to be president). Also evil: Misleading and almost-surely harmful therapy, whether asked for in desperation or otherwise.
Marcus Bachmann Says His Clinics Not Anti-Gay [Star Tribune]