Residents of Fayetteville, Arkansas, repealed a non-discrimination law that was passed just months earlier. The Duggar family was heavily invested in its repeal.
This summer many were shocked when Michelle Duggar, the matriarch on TLC's reality TV show "19 Kids and Counting," recorded a scathing, fear-mongering, anti-trans robocall urging voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to vote against a non-discrimination ordinance. The Duggars don't even live in Fayetteville, which made her involvement even more surprising.
"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," Michelle Duggar said in the robocall.
The city council, despite urgings of the Duggars and the religious right, passed the ordinance into law.
Last night, by a 52-48 vote, Fayetteville residents repealed the nascent law.
"It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed," local minister Duncan Campbell, the head of the repeal campaign Repeal 119, told 5 News. "It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people. It criminalized civil behavior."
The Fayetteville non-discrimination ordinance "prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, real estate transactions, city services, business transactions and public accommodations based on 'race, ethnicity, national origin, age (if 18 years of age or older), gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status,'" Arkansas News reported in August.
The Duggars weren't done fighting after the robocall, however.
The "19 Kids and Counting" family "donated $10,000 toward the campaigns of the three most outspoken opponents to Fayetteville’s new Civil Rights Administration ordinance. The Duggars gave $2,000 to John La Tour, and $4,000 to both Joshua Crawford and Paul Phaenuef," the Fayettevile Flyer reported October 31. "La Tour, Crawford, and Phaneuf have all said they oppose the ordinance and were each listed as contacts on a press release for Repeal 119."
The days leading up to yesterday's vote were tense.
Fayetteville, AR, Peeps: Go to the polls tomorrow and vote against the repeal of the anti-discrimination ordinance. pic.twitter.com/F2nUuJ1VtF— Elizabeth (@ElizabethQuaker) December 9, 2014
Max Brantley, editor of the Arkansas Times, had strong words after the votes were tallied.
The hate groups such as the Family Council spent huge sums and huge church effort to defeat the ordinance. The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, led by convicted felon Steve Clark, also threw its weight against the ordinance.
The religious right, needless to say, was thrilled with the win.
Especially, yes, Josh Duggar.
Thanks to all who helped w/ the #Repeal119 campaign in Fayetteville, AR - supporting equality for ALL Fayetteville citizens!— Josh Duggar (@joshduggar) December 10, 2014
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