Senate rejects effort to block tax dollars from being used for ex-gay therapy

Here's a head-scratcher: Yesterday, Sen. Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis, introduced an amendment that would've blocked tax dollars from being used to fund the type of controversial ex-gay therapy practiced at Marcus Bachmann's clinics.

The motion failed after senators like David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, raised concerns that Dibble's amendment was "very controversial."

And the use of public dollars to pray away the gay isn't?

According to an NBC News investigation published last June, Bachmann's Bachmann & Associates clinics received $137,000 annually in Medicare payments from 2005 onward. Bachmann's clinics also received $24,000 in state and federal grants.

That same month, an undercover journalist named John Becker outed Bachmann's clinics for offering controversial therapy using Christian teachings in an attempt to turn gays into straights. Marcus Bachmann had previously denied his clinics provided ex-gay therapy.

NBC reports that the $161,000 in public funds distributed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services were targeted for the treatment of low-income mentally ill patients on a "fee for service" basis, meaning Bachmann & Associates was reimbursed by Minnesota's Medicaid program for services it provided.

Dibble's amendment would have banned Medicaid payments from being used for so-called reparative or conversion therapy. "Taxpayers are paying for what amounts to religious instruction and treatment that actively harms otherwise normal and healthy people," Dibble told colleagues on the Senate floor.

But the amendment was defeated on a bipartisan 27-40 vote, with conservatives suggesting they believe there might be some merit in ex-gay therapy.

According to the Star Tribune, Sen. David Brown, R-Becker, told Dibble, "I assume by [your amendment] that your feeling is that the power of Jesus Christ doesn't have the power to redeem anyone. How would you respond to that?"

"I absolutely believe that is true; that the power of Jesus Christ does have the power to redeem someone," Dibble replied.

Apparently legislators on both sides of the aisle and sexual orientation believe that the Lord giveth and taketh. For better or the worse, senators decided not to taketh away Marcus Bachmann's Medicaid funding.

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