Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger, the first openly-gay contender to vie for his party's nomination, sharply criticized rival GOP hopeful Michele Bachmann in an exclusive interview with the Michigan Messenger published online on Wednesday.
Karger took aim at Bachmann over controversial therapy methods reportedly practiced at her husband's Minnesota clinic.
Last week, The Nation reported that the clinic practiced reparative therapy, which the publication explains treats being gay as a curable disorder. When asked to share her opinion of such practices and whether they are used at her husband's clinic by a reporter for WQAD, an ABC affiliate, Bachmann declined to address the matter.
A report released by ABC News earlier this week offered an inside look at the practices and treatment offered at the center.
"She's a liar and now that she's been busted, she's trying to divert attention away from her lies," Karger said of Bachmann to the Messenger in speaking out on the matter. "She is just another hypocrite and bigot."
Bachmann has been clear about her opposition to marriage equality. Last week, the conservative congresswoman signed The Family Leader's "Marriage Vow" pledge, which entails supporting a "federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman."
"What I signed was a statement that affirms marriage as an important part of our nation," said Bachmann during an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" on Tuesday night. "I think that marriage is very important. It is the fundamental unit of our government. And I think it is important that we do uphold marriage and also the family."
CBS News reports:
Bachmann's campaign - and Bachmann herself - has declined to answer repeated requests from CBS News for an explanation of her beliefs about homosexuality. But in 2004, when she was a state senator, Bachmann gave an hour-long speech outlining her opinions at the time.
In speaking out at the time, Bachmann used some eyebrow-raising language in addressing the matter of being gay.
"We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders," she said, Gawker notes. "This is a very real issue. It's not funny, it's sad. Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle-we have a member of our family that is. This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."
Below, an audio clip of what the Minnesota Republican had to say via CBS News.