Donald Trump appointed Tuesday (22 December) Marcus Bachmann, an anti-gay counsellor who once referred to gay people as “barbarians“, to an advisory post as the US president scrambles to entrench key allies in top positions.
The husband of Michele Bachman, who was once dubbed “America’s biggest homophobe“, has been repeatedly accused of practising conversion therapy at his so-called Christian counselling clinic in Minnesota.
But the White House released a list of people appointed by Trump to “key” positions in the administration, with one being Marcus’ instalment to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
The body, consisting of federal agency officials and public citizens, assists the president alongside the secretary of health and human services on public policies that impact people with intellectual disabilities.
Marcus was just one of a rafter of appointments to various federal advisory positions, ranging from marriage equality opponent Pam Bondi, who grabbed a spot on the board of trustees for the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to gay conservative Richard Grenell, who joined the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
Marcus Bachmann has neither confirmed nor denied conversion therapy occurs at his clinics
Marcus has long coyly rejected any wrongdoing of his clinics, but has, at times, suggested that the debunked and denounced practise of conversion therapy can occur at the client’s request.
In a 2011 interview with the Minneapolis-Star Tribune, he neither confirmed nor denied that conversion therapy occurs at his clinics, saying it’s “at the client’s discretion.
“We don’t have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone.”
But slews of undercover activists have obtained swathes of evidence of conversion therapy going on at Bachmann & Associates over the last 10 years.
LGBT+ campaigners used hidden cameras to record counsellors saying “it’s possible to be totally free [of same-sex attraction].
“I really am going to recommend that we start working on how you can develop your attraction towards women,” they added. Others told patients that “being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes” and that reading the Bible was a “cure”.
Former congress member Michele herself has a lengthy and troubling track record of anti-LGBT+ comments.
The Tea Party politician and Trump adviser once insisted that gay people “want to abolish content laws” (they don’t) and claimed that God would destroy America because of the “sin-sick” culture of same-sex marriage.