- (Reuters/Scott Audette)
Michele Bachmann told Jay Leno Friday that her husband's clinic, criticized for its controversial therapy that uses Bible readings to convert gay patients, is doing a great job and does not discriminate against gays.
Bachmann also confirmed her standing on gay marriage and the HPV controversy.
The Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 presidential contender, who debuted on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show Friday evening, said that the clinic ran by her husband of 33 years, Marcus, does not "discriminate against people’s issues.”
"If they [gay patients] come into our clinic and somebody has an issue, our therapists deal with whatever the issues are," she told the popular late-night comedian and host. "And if they can’t deal with it, they refer them somewhere else.”
The Christian mental health establishment is believed to practice the counseling method, “reparative therapy,” which seeks to cure individuals of their homosexual preferences via reading them passages from the Bible.
"That whole 'pray the gay away' thing…I don't get it," Leno told Bachmann. “I’ve been married for 31 years. Happily married. Two guys getting married: how does that affect my marriage?”
Next, Leno asked why is gay marriage an issue at all in politics, referring to the Tea Party’s strong stand against gay marriage. He added that he knows gay families that are married and have children.
“Why shouldn’t they be allowed to be happy?” he asked.
“Well, because family is foundational, and the marriage between a man and a woman is what the law has been for years and years and years,” Bachmann replied.
The host also asked the presidential contender about her controversial statements concerning the HPV vaccine. During last week’s GOP debate, Bachmann suggested that the vaccine could cause mental retardation. She said a woman from Tampa, Fla., approached her after the debate and said her daughter had experienced that after receiving the Gardasil vaccine.
Bachmann immediately came under fire from the medical community. Two bioethics professors have even offered her $11,000 for proving that allegation.
Leno addressed the remarks.
"Something like 30 million people have had this [shot]," he said. "And there haven't been any cases of this [retardation], or at least recorded cases."
"I wasn't speaking as a doctor. I wasn't speaking as a scientist,” Bachmann defended herself. “I was just relating what this woman said."
She clung to her criticism of her Republican rival, Rick Perry, whom she slammed last week for having once issued an executive order requiring sixth-grade girls in Texas to be vaccinated.
"It gives a false sense of assurance to a young woman when she has that, that if she's sexually active that she doesn't have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases," Bachmann told Leno.