Ace reporter Andy Birkey has pursued anti-gay extremists in Minnesota — from the Bachmanns and Janet Boynes to Bradlee Dean and the Catholic bishops — more doggedly than perhaps any other journalist in that state; with a marriage discrimination amendment on the ballot there in November, he’s had his hands full.

In his latest article for the American Independent, Birkey reveals that the “ex-gay” movement is working furiously to pass the amendment in the North Star State, and that a disturbing number of other marriage discrimination proponents have embraced the “ex-gay” myth.

Birkey asked me to comment on the deep ties between the “ex-gay” movement and Minnesota’s anti-marriage equality push on behalf of Truth Wins Out:

Last year, John Becker of Truth Wins Out, an organization formed to confront the “Love Won Out” conferences as well as the broader “ex-gay industry,” went undercover in the Bachmann family counseling clinic and found that the clinic conducted “ex-gay therapy.”

That information sparked protests and an unflattering news cycle for Bachmann, who was a presidential contender at the time.

Becker told The American Independent that the endorsement of this type of therapy by every major backer of the marriage amendment “should send shivers up the spine of every fair-minded Minnesotan.”

“Amendment backers claim to want a ‘respectful debate’ about marriage equality, yet they gravely disrespect their fellow Minnesotans by aligning themselves with the ‘pray away the gay’ fraud,” he sad.

He said that the therapy is dangerous.

“This depraved form of ‘therapy’ has been rejected by literally every single mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals because studies have shown that it doesn’t work and actually increases anxiety, depression, and suicide in patients,” he said.

He added that the fact that so many proponents of the anti-gay-marriage amendment have also supported the “ex-gay” movement shows that the motives behind the amendment are not solely about banning same-sex marriage.

“By embracing the myth that sexual orientation can be changed, amendment proponents are showing their true colors,” he said. “The endgame isn’t simply the exclusion of loving same-sex couples from marriage. They won’t stop until LGBT people are relegated to second-class status in every aspect of society.”

Check out the entire article. It’s an important, albeit deeply troubling read.