Michele Bachmann

Gay rights groups in the US have called on 2012 presidential candidates to disavow dangerous “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapies endorsed by at least one contender, Republican Michele Bachmann, and her husband Marcus.

Bachmann’s therapist husband runs a Christian clinic that “treats” people for their homosexuality through ‘conversion therapy’. He has previously called LGBT Americans “barbarians” who “need to be disciplined”.

Last week Bachmann signed her name to the far-right group the Family Leader’s pledge “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” as did another Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said that pledge includes the falsehood that being gay is a choice and is dangerous to public health.

“Michele Bachmann’s homophobic views are out of step with mainstream America, and it’s time for her fellow GOP presidential contenders to publicly denounce them,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

“Bachmann’s support for things like reparative therapy signals just how fringe a candidate she really is.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also urged journalists to be “especially mindful” when reporting on ‘ex-gay’ therapies.

It noted that most respectable scientific and medical organisations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other authorities have all dismissed the suggestion that being gay is something that needs to be treated.

These organisations also agree that trying to “treat” an LGBT person or change their identity through counselling or therapy can cause serious harm to the individual.

“Credible social science research discredits this type of therapy as a healthy practice, and there are no studies that support it. Therefore, framing it as a potential option is irresponsible journalism,” said GLAAD.

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