Michelle Duggar has made it no secret that she is firmly anti-LGBT, coming out staunchly against gay marriage, and making headlines as she recorded a political robo-call in a successful effort to overturn equal rights legislation, written to protect citizens against discrimination, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation. But one fact that Michelle Duggar has kept secret -- or at least has been less than forthcoming about -- is that her sister Evelyn Ruark (pictured above with Michelle) openly identifies as a lesbian.
That has to make for some awkward family reunions.
According to Radar Online, Ruark, 63, is in a long-term relationship with partner Sharon Callahan, 52. The two live together in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to Dolores Callahan, Sharon's mother.
The Duggars have largely remained silent about having a member of their own family subscribe to a lifestyle that they see as a sin, and one which they actively work against in the political arena. Michelle's sister Evelyn did appear in one early episode of TLC's hit show 19 Kids and Counting, but certainly her sexual orientation was not discussed, nor was there any mention of her long-term partner Callahan, who did not appear on the episode.
Josh Duggar, however, did once mention that there was a member of his family who was gay during a political radio show in 2013, but he claimed that despite her sexual orientation, his aunt supported the belief that marriage is supposed to remain between one man and one woman.
"I have an aunt who has chosen to live that life and I love my aunt. I think she is an amazing person," he said to listeners, and then hastened to add, "She believes that marriage is between one man and one woman."
But it appears that, just as Michelle Duggar and her immediate family do not approve of her sister's life, her sister and her partner don't approve of the Duggars' way of life, either. In fact, it's rumored that Michelle's entire family, who aren't as religious as the Duggars, disapprove of the Duggars' extreme views, which is why they aren't often featured on the show.
And Sharon Callahan, Evelyn's partner, was quoted as saying, "We are worried about them [the Duggars]. We have often thought that QuiverFull is a cult. It appears to be brainwashing to me." Although according to the Duggar Family blog, the Duggars claim no allegiance with the QuiverFull movement, instead identifying as Independent Baptists, their beliefs on such matters as birth control and procreation are closely aligned with the QuiverFull movement, as Sharon Callahan states.
The Duggars have come under a lot of fire lately for their beliefs. In November, Jim Bob and Michelle deleted photos of same-sex couples kissing from their Facebook page, and later that month, Josh Duggar, the eldest of the 19 kids the Duggars count, led an Arkansas rally that protested against gay marriage. "We have the First Amendment in this nation, and we have the right to live out our faith," Josh, 26, said before the protest. "The rally will send a strong reminder to Arkansas Supreme Court Justices that an overwhelming majority of voters…voted to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman."
What do you think? Were you surprised to find that Michelle Duggar has a gay sister? Do you think her sister's sexual orientation is why she has only appeared once on the show? And do you really think that, despite Josh Duggar's claims, his aunt is actually against gay marriage?
[Image via Radar Online]