The “pray away the gay” therapy promoted by Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus Bachmann has been called “horrific” by a former “ex-gay” leader.

Earlier this month, John Smid, the former leader of the “ex-gay” ministry Love in Action, renounced his long-held belief that being gay is a choice and admitted that despite 20 years of marriage to a woman he is gay.

During an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball, Smid said the government “shouldn't have gotten involved in the issue of marriage.”

“I think two gay people should have the same rights as two heterosexual people,” he said.

On the issue of the Bachmanns, host Chris Matthews asked, “What do you make of the fact that one of the candidates for the Republican side, Michele Bachmann, and her husband run an organization which basically does what you say can't be done – change people,” then played a 2010 clip of Mr. Bachmann in which he is heard likening gay people to “barbarians” who “need to be educated” and “disciplined.”

“Oh, I think that's horrific,” Smid said of Mr. Bachmann's remarks. “I think that whole concept that he has talked about there is an amazing denial of human experience and I think the first thing we need to do is to listen and validate to what people experience.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)