Michele Bachmann dances on stage with her husband, Marcus, after speaking at a Tea Party Rally on July 2, 2011 outside the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. Michele Bachmann’s rise as a GOP presidential hopeful has led to more attention on her husband and his role in her campaign. (Photo credit: Justin Hayworth / AP via Washington Post photo gallery)
By Jason Horowitz
July 5, 2011
LAKE ELMO, Minn. — In an interview last year with a Christian-radio talk show, Marcus Bachmann, a therapist who runs a faith-infused counseling center here, compared homosexuals to “barbarians” who “need to be educated, need to be disciplined.”
Dr. Bachmann’s strong anti-gay views would hardly be noteworthy outside of the suburban towns marked with water towers in the St. Croix Valley, except that his wife, Rep. Michele Bachmann, is suddenly the hottest commodity in the Republican presidential field. She has staffed up with professional consultants, but her husband of 32 years plays a central role.
Dr. Bachmann, who recently called himself his wife’s “strategist,” has acted as her media planner, traveling assistant and even personal shopper. They share a bond born of a mutual religious awakening in high school and college, a deep faith in an especially conservative form of Lutheranism [link added], and a common abhorrence of homosexuality [link added].
“Their career in politics [link added] has always been about pursuing a social conservative agenda,” Larry Jacobs, a political scientist and longtime Bachmann watcher at the University of Minnesota, said of the couple. He said that Michele Bachmann’s initial race for the state Senate, in which she ousted a more moderate Republican, was “broadly over gay rights.” …
Michele Bachmann has called gay marriage “probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, 30 years.” In 2005, she ran screaming from a bathroom at a constituent forum, claiming that a lesbian had attempted to keep her there against her will. (The woman said she was merely questioning Bachmann about her position on gay marriage.)
As a state senator, she was seen crouching behind hedges to observe a gay rights rally [link added]. (She has explained that she was checking the turnout.) …
Note: Images added; not part of Washington Post report
Dr. Bachmann and his wife declined to comment for this article. The Bachmann campaign declined to specifically address whether the couple’s clinic, set back amid serene ponds in an office park gauzy with floating dandelion seeds, engages in the practice of reparative therapy [“praying away the gay”]. …
‘100 percent aligned’
Dr. Bachmann’s influence on his wife is an article of faith within the family.
“He is her godly husband,” said Peter Bachmann, Dr. Bachmann’s oldest brother, who lives on the family dairy farm across the eastern border in Wisconsin. “The husband is to be the head of the wife, according to God.”
It is a philosophy that Michele Bachmann echoed to congregants of the the Living Word Christian Center in 2006, when she stated that she pursued her degree in tax law only because her husband had told her to [link added]. “The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands,” she said. …
Related video (added to Washington Post report)
Is Bachmann ‘submissive’ to her husband? (NBC Nightly News, Aug. 12, 2011) – A frontrunner in Iowa, Michele Bachmann was hit with a personal question about her husband in a political debate on Thursday night. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports on how Bachmann handled the question. (03:47)
“Philosophically, they are 100 percent aligned,” said Ron Carey, Bachmann’s former chief of staff, and now a Pawlenty supporter, who admired Dr. Bachmann as a “soft-mannered, gentle, great guy.” …
The Bachmanns’ strong belief that homosexuality is a correctable sin within the realm of possible redemption is consistent with the teachings of the Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, [which] … served as the place of worship for the Bachmanns until their recent move. The church belongs to the highly conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod [link added]. …
At what is now known as Regent University, which Pat Robertson founded, Marcus Bachmann wrote a dissertation “with a biblical perspective” on the positive and negative aspects of day care for infants. At the Ohio-based Union Graduate Institute, from which he received his PhD in 1995, he added another thesis on the impact of day care on older children.
Inside Bachmann & Associates, a receptionist stacks books titled “Fighting for Your Marriage” near framed Bible verses and cards listing payment options. The center has received more than $100,000 in Medicaid payments over the years. On the registry of national Medicare and Medicaid providers, Dr. Bachmann is listed as a psychologist but without a license number.
There are more than a dozen counselors working at the clinic’s two locations whose certifications are included in the registry. Dr. Bachmann is not currently licensed by Minnesota’s mental health or family therapy boards. Minnesota law allows unlicensed mental health professionals to practice.
A devout Lutheran, Marcus Bachmann grew up on a dairy farm in Buffalo County, Wis., with his parents, who had emigrated from Switzerland, and his two older brothers. He became a born-again Christian in high school. …
Marcus Bachmann enrolled at Winona State University in neighboring Minnesota, where he majored in social work and met his future wife as they both volunteered supervising children at a school playground. …
In September 1978, the couple married at the Bachmann family farm in Wisconsin.
In an interview with Minnesota Monthly in 2010, Dr. Bachmann offered a professional assessment of the support he provided to his wife, whose parents divorced in her youth. “What she was looking for in a husband was clearly stability, a person of character,” he said. “She saw that stability in me, and really that was an attraction.”
In her 2006 speech, to the Living Word Christian Center, Michele Bachmann instead cited a more divine inspiration for their marriage.
“And the Lord then led me to this man,” she said, pausing to identify Marcus in the crowd. “That my calling was to marry this man. And I tell you that, because, I hate to disappoint you, darling, but it wasn’t a big romantic surge that led us to each other. It was His word.
“At the same time,” she added, “the Lord was speaking to my husband, and He showed my husband — he was repairing a fence on the farm where he worked — and the Lord showed him in a vision that he was supposed to marry me. …
Related content: Candidate Profile: Michele Bachmann
Michele and Marcus Bachmann wave as they march in a 2011 Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. (Photo credit: Steve Pope / Getty Images Washington Post photo gallery)
Related link on this site
Bachmann “Pray Away the Gay” (July 12, 2011)
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — July 7, 2010
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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — July 7, 2009
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