Forget Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald’s steamy honeymoon photos; Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are now at the center of their own photo controversy. Following the kissing photo that they posted on social media last week in defense of their 22-year-old daughter, the “19 Kids and Counting” stars issued their fans a challenge on Facebook Monday, asking them to add their own kissing photos to a thread. Unfortunately for some of the Duggars’ followers, their photos did not make the cut. Two same-sex couples are now claiming that the Christian duo intentionally deleted their images from their social media account.
Jim Bob and Michelle’s challenge, which prompted married viewers to post images of themselves kissing, has received more than 42,000 likes, hundreds of submissions and more than 6,000 comments since its debut earlier this week, but some of those submissions are no longer visible. According to a report from Radar Online, Michelle and Jim Bob are believed to have deleted at least two same-sex couples' kissing photos from their page.
Los Angeles LGBT activist Charles Chan Massey says his wedding photo with husband Joseph Chan was deleted from the challenge Tuesday, less than an hour after it appeared on the Duggar’s Facebook page. “My post was soon deleted and I was banned from commenting, liking and posting any comments or photographs on their page,” Massey told Radar. “We learned how narrow-minded people can be.”
Another same-sex couple, Bilerico Project editor-in-chief John Becker and his husband Michael Knaapen, were also blocked after posting an image of their passionate smooch. “It made me a little sad because there were so many beautiful photos, I wanted to leave positive comments,” Becker said. “It’s their space and they have the right to delete what they want, but it says a lot about them how threatened they seem to feel by other loving couples. I thought it was very telling the way they handled it.”
While some participants claim their photos were deleted from the challenge, as of Thursday, dozens of same-sex couple’s photos remained on the thread.
Jim Bob and Michelle have since responded to the controversy by posting Luke 6:27 [“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you"] on their Facebook page alongside this message: “We will always stand for truth and the values we hold dear without compromise but we will do so in love and kindness-- treating others well even if we don't agree with them and we will do so without hateful words.”
The Duggar family was last flamed for their beliefs in August when a robocall of Michelle advising Northwest Arkansas residents to vote against an anti-discrimination ordinance was released online. According to the Fayetteville Flyer, if passed, the law would have forbidden business owners and landlords to deny employment and housing because of someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In her pre-recorded message, Michelle said the ordinance would threaten the safety of 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 womens and girls restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only,” Michelle said. “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.”
Despite Michelle’s efforts, the New York Daily News reports that the city council approved the measure in a 6-2 vote.
Catch up with Jim Bob, Michelle and the rest of the Duggar family on “19 Kids and Counting,” Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on TLC.