Tony Perkins

There has been a frenzy of drummed up controversy about Marcus Bachmann, the psychologist husband of a Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). His “scandal?” A counselor in a practice run by Dr. Bachmann offered a client the service he requested.

Why would this be controversial? Was the client engaged in illegal activity? Was the counselor? No, there was nothing illegal – just very, very politically incorrect. You see, the “client” – actually an undercover employee of a homosexual activist organization – asked for help in changing his sexual orientation.

Taking a page from undercover sting operations against liberal organizations such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood, John Becker, of the grossly misnamed homosexual group “Truth Wins Out” (TWO), secretly videotaped five one-hour sessions with a counselor at the Bachmann clinic. But while ACORN and Planned Parenthood showed themselves willing to conceal crimes, all the Bachmann clinic did was offer Becker help toward achieving what he asked for: “I told them that I wanted to be rid of my same-sex attractions, to be rid of my homosexuality.”

The misinformation and bias in the media’s reporting of this story were astounding. Reporters used the sarcastic catchphrases of homosexual activists, like “pray away the gay” or “gay cure,” as though they were objective descriptions of what is more properly called “sexual reorientation” therapy or “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE). They described such counseling as resting only on prayer, Bible reading, and “willpower” ignoring the serious therapeutic methods employed. HLN’s Dr. Drew Pinsky at least explained to Anderson Cooper that “some of these treatments are quite legitimate” – but not, in Pinsky’s opinion, to change someone’s sexual orientation.

The general theme was that such therapies don’t work and are harmful. Major professional organizations, which caved in to pro-homosexual ideological pressure in the 1970’s, have been critical of such treatments – but even their statements are more nuanced than most reports indicate. For example, the American Psychological Association’s 2009 report on the topic did not say such therapies have been proven ineffective. Rather, it said, “There are no studies of adequate scientific rigor to conclude whether or not recent SOCE do or do not work [emphasis added] to change a person’s sexual orientation.” The APA also did not say such therapies have been proven harmful, noting only that “sound data on the safety of SOCE are extremely limited.”

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council.
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