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More than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking TLC to dump the Duggars, with the family matriarch of 19 Kids and Counting coming under fire for what critics say is anti-gay speech.
The Change.org petition began in response to Michelle Duggar being featured in a robocall urging Fayetteville, Ark. residents to oppose an anti-discrimination ordinance that — according to the robocall — would allow men “to use women’s and girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only.”
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The ordinance eventually passed, prohibiting public accommodations and businesses from discriminating against people based on their gender or sexual orientation.
“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,” said Duggar in the robocall.
According to the petition, the Duggars donated $10,000 to a campaign to repeal the ordinance after it passed. Petition organizer Jim Wissick said the robocall reeked of “ignorance and fear mongering.”
“Just because someone is transgendered doesn’t mean they are a child predator or a rapist,” his petition reads. “The claim that this ordinance would provide predators with access to women’s restrooms in order to assault or leer at girls or women is nothing more than fear mongering and spreading ignorance and hatred.”
Meanwhile, Duggar supporters have started a petition of their own, which has more than 70,000 signatures.
“Rather than being extreme, the Duggars represent the majority of people in state after state who have stood up for the traditional family,” the petition reads.
A smaller petition, with just over 7,000 signers, is also asking TLC to keep the show. It states that the show has many viewers and supporters, including those that may not share the Duggars’ personal beliefs.
On Friday, the Michelle Duggar promoted a third petition on their Facebook page, this one with nearly 29,000 signatures.
TLC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A rep for the Duggars was not immediately available for comment, and the Duggars have not responded to the petition, though shortly after the petition launched, a post on their Facebook page quoted a Bible verse about loving one’s enemies.
The Duggars, whose members previously campaigned for Rick Santorum and have said marriage should be between a man and a woman, are not the first Christian reality stars to get in hot water for remarks they’ve made about the LGBT community. Duck Dynasty clan the Robertsons came under scrutiny last year after patriarch Phil Robertson made anti-gay remarks. A&E briefly suspended him from the show, but he returned without missing any episodes.
19 Kids and Counting‘s ninth season premiered in September.
Nov. 21, 10:15 a.m. Updated with information on an additional petition supporting the Duggars.
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