The husband of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has been accused of trying to cure gay people.

Her husband of more than 30 years, Marcus Bachmann, a Christian counselling therapist, has denied practising ‘reparative therapy’, which aims to turn gays straight, but several witnesses say the clinic tried to ‘cure’ them.

Andrew Ramirez said that in 2004, as a teenager, he was sent to the clinic by his parents. “[A Bachmann employee] basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” he recalled.

Reports of ‘gay cure’ therapy at Bachmann & Associates first surfaced in 2005.

Now, gay group Truth Wins Out says it sent an undercover member to the clinic in late June. John Becker says he was told that everyone is heterosexual but some people have “challenges”.

He said: “Based on my experiences at Bachmann & Associates, there can no longer be any doubt that Marcus Bachmann’s state- and federally-funded clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person’s sexual orientation, despite the fact that such ‘therapy’ is widely discredited by the scientific and medical communities.”

A recording has also emerged of Mr Bachmann calling gays “barbarians … who need to be educated, need to be disciplined”.

Mr Bachmann has been widely mocked on gay blogs and websites for having a “gay voice”.

Mrs Bachmann, who was ‘glittered’ by gay rights campaigners recently for her opposition to gay marriage, has just signed a controversial pledge that opposes gay marriage and says that black children were more likely to grow up in stable families in slavery than they are in today’s America.

The politician has a long track record of anti-gay remarks, including claiming that gay people suffer “sexual dysfunction” and “personal enslavement”. She has also claimed that gays are “specifically targeting our children”.