The Corner

The Playground Attacks on Marcus Bachmann

It’s seldom the highest virtue in politics to go after a politician’s spouse, even when that spouse is a husband. But if you haven’t heard, many of our brightest cultural observers — Jon Stewart, Cher, Jerry Seinfeld, the irrepressible Janeane Garofalo, Andrew Sullivan and others — are informing us that Dr. Marcus Bachmann is either probably gay or definitely gay.

How do they know? Well, listen to the way he talks. He talks in that undeniable gay way that gay people talk. If it quacks like a duck. His hot presidential-candidate wife, five kids, and 23 foster kids are just a slick ruse for what is so obvious to those smarter than the rest of us.

This all reminds me of, oh, let’s see . . . a grade-school playground where mean children salve their own insecurities by making fun of the way others talk. And of course, as some of us mature, we understand that such behavior is more revealing of the character of the teasers than the teased.

But there is another reason why Dr. Bachmann must be gay. He has a counseling practice in his hometown of Lake Elmo, Minn., where he integrates his deeply held Christian faith with his work to help heal people with various and sundry psychological struggles. And lots of people come to him for help. Of their own free-will. Not coerced in the least. And some come to him wanting help overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction and Bachmann works to help them reach their desired goals. Many counselors do this kind of therapy for their patients with various approaches. Not all are successful, but many are to varying degrees. But only to those in the elite echelons of New York, L.A., and D.C. would the idea of seeking serious help for unwanted sexual desires be so unspeakably unbelievable, on par with belief in Sasquatch or that one can develop a healing friendship with God.

Over the past eight years, I have debated the issue of same-sex marriage and parenting on college campuses around the nation as part of my work at Focus on the Family. I cannot recount how many times people in the audience came to the microphone to question my own sexual orientation because in their mind, it is self-evident that anyone who makes such a careful study of why homosexuality might not be best for folks must obviously be wrestling with his own issues, right? One gentleman even threw in my obvious innate sense of fashion and style as another smoking gun. Seriously. But like Marcus, I also have a hot wife and five offspring we created and are raising together. Might they merely be a cover for something I am yet to realize? I wish the really smart people would let me know.

It has always struck me as a queer curiosity that people would stand up and publically assert such silly conclusions in forums where intelligence and insight are supposed to be the evening’s fare. And I have no doubt that everyone telling us Marcus Bachmann must be gay would want us to think they are not just funny, but super smart too.

When I was a young, uninformed teenager, I thought that gayness was captured in stereotypical gay mannerisms and behaviors. I have shed that belief. But now Jon Stewart, Cher, and Janeane are telling me my pre-adolescent insights were right.

But let me tell you what I do know for sure: This is all a display of a really a despicable kind of politics. Grown-ups don’t participate in it. I do know that.  

— Glenn T. Stanton is the director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family and a research fellow at the Institute of Marriage and Family. He is also author of the recent book Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity.

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