Gay rights activists have fired the opening salvo in what will undoubtedly be an ongoing assault on presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann has been unequivocal about her opposition to same-sex marriage, and her support for traditional values across the board.
Earlier this week, both ABC and NBC aired "investigative reports" based on a "sting" operation targeting the Christian counseling clinic owned by Bachmann and her husband, Marcus.
Acting undercover and toting hidden cameras, a representative of the gay rights organization Truth Wins Out posed as a homosexual man seeking therapeutic help for his same-sex attraction. John Becker secretly videotaped five one-hour sessions with a Bachmann & Associates therapist after falsely telling him he wanted "to be rid of my homosexuality."
In the NBC story that aired on the Today show (see video clip below), Becker says he set out to prove that Bachmann & Associates uses what he called a "controversial" technique known as reparative therapy. ABC, NBC, and Truth Wins Out all claim that Marcus Bachmann has denied that his clinic employs such treatment. For proof, they offer this quote of Bachmann's from 2005 or 2006, depending on which report you believe: "If someone is interested in talking to us about their homosexuality, we are open to talking about that. But if someone comes in a homosexual and they want to stay a homosexual, I don't have a problem with that."
That's their smoking gun?
In that statement Bachmann never addresses the question of reparative therapy. He says his clinic works with homosexuals, whether they want to remain homosexuals or not. Period.
Becker didn't walk into Bachmann's clinic saying he was a homosexual who wanted to stay that way-only to have a therapist try to convince him to change. He told the therapist he wanted to change, and the therapist agreed to work with him on his goal through counseling, prayer, and Scripture. As for the hidden cameras, there was obviously nothing damning. The clip aired on NBC shows the therapist telling Becker that God made his eyes to be attracted to women.
Truth Wins Out and other similar gay rights groups are vehement in their opposition to reparative therapy because it suggests that same-sex attraction can be changed. That threatens their claim that homosexuality is innate, and since there's nothing wrong with it anyway, no one should try and change it.
Reparative therapy is only "controversial" in certain circles. In others, it's widely used and acknowledged as a frequently successful technique. NARTH (the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) has on its website numerous testimonials from ex-gays. According to NARTH's mission statement, its goal is to "uphold the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care and the right of professionals to offer it. . . . Clients choose their own goals while therapists avoid imposing an agenda."
The president of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays), a former homosexual himself, believes groups such as Truth Wins Out are attempting to perpetuate a falsehood that counselors are prohibited or restricted from treating gays with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Michael Isikoff, NBC's investigative reporter in its report, said the secret videotape "raises questions" on how Marcus Bachmann's counseling center treats patients who might be gay. If this is what NBC News calls investigative journalism, they've sunk to a new low. There is no story here.
For its part, ABC titles its story (see video clip below) "Michele Bachmann Clinic: Where You Can Pray Away the Gay?" Now that's just plain sneering.