The Duggars are declaring victory after voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas voted to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance on Tuesday. The ordinance, called the Fayetteville Civil Rights Ordinance, prohibited business from discriminating “against employees and customers based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and other factors,” according to KFSM. The law was overwhelmingly approved initially by the City Council less than four months ago, but among 14,000 ballots cast about the ordinance, 52 percent voted to repeal it.
The nondiscrimination ordinance is similar to many around the country, but upon its passing, the Duggars, who don’t live in Fayetteville themselves, moved into action, campaigning against the ordinance vigorously. The Duggar family reportedly donated $10,000 to help repeal the ordinance, accounting for nearly a fourth of the total $44,000 raised against this issue.
Michelle Duggar also recorded what has become a rather infamous robocall.
“Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men – yes I said men – to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area? I still believe that we are a society that puts women and children first. Women, young ladies and little girls deserve to use the restroom or any other facility in peace and safety. Will you speak up for protecting women and children?”
Her robocall was incendiary, angering many because of the misinformation it held. Many signed a petition asking TLC to remove their popular show 19 Kids and Counting off the air because of the extremism of the robocall. Local Fayetteville Alderman Matthew Petty said of the call, “I am sure that some of the concerns out there are held in good faith, but the organizations perpetuating this fear know the truth. They are spreading this misinformation because they are skilled political strategists and they believe it is an effective proxy for their bigotry.”
But the ordinance was overturned, disappointing many LGBT advocates, although some said that at least the discussion surrounding the ordinance had provided an important starting place for conversation.
Supporters of the repeal — including the Duggars — declared the day a victory. Oddly enough, they claim the victory is for civil rights.
“We wanted to repeal the ordinance because we didn’t believe it made Fayetteville a fairer city or a freer city,” said local minister Duncan Campbell in an interview with KFSM. “It did just the opposite. It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed. It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people. It criminalized civil behavior.”
Other supporters of the repeal of the ordinance are proud that their city of Fayetteville is the first place to ever repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance.
Josh Duggar, eldest son of the Duggar family, also tweeted out his belief that repealing the nondiscrimination ordinance was actually a win for civil rights rather than against civil rights, writing, “Thanks to all who helped w/ the #Repeal119 campaign in Fayetteville, AR – supporting equality for ALL Fayetteville citizens!”
But despite their victory, the Duggars are already facing some serious backlash via social media. Much of the tone is one of anger, with one user writing, “I look forward to revoking anti discrimination laws based on religion too, as you have taken away protections for LGBTs. That way people can treat you as nasty as you treat others who are different. Way to help push up suicide numbers for LGBT kids.”
Others expressed disappointment.
“Duggars: You may be celebrating and thinking that your hate in the name of God has succeeded in Fayetteville. The election results and the repeal of the ordinance will inflict direct harm on LGBT Arkansans, their families and their friends. But here’s something you should know. I’m Transgender and I can assure you that you have not won, and we will *never* give up. Most of us have been abused, marginalized, and bullied our entire life. We don’t quit. We stand united with our Gay & Lesbian Brothers & Sisters. Yes, you may have put a dent in our shields but this conflict is just beginning. Remember that.”
The more negative comments are being removed from the official Duggar social media sites, and many of their fans are sticking up for the Duggars in equal measure.
What do you think? Do you think the Duggars really believe that the nondiscrimination ordinance in Fayetteville was truly a threat to women and children? Or were the Duggars simply pushing an agenda based on their religious beliefs?
[Image via ABC News]