Michelle Duggar, the matriarch in the conservative reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting,” has long kept a secret about her older sister, Evelyn Ruark, who has only once appeared on the show. Ruark is a lesbian and lives with her partner in Ohio, RadarOnline reported Tuesday.
The news surfaced after Michelle, who has a strained relationship with Ruark, was recently pictured posing with her 63-year-old sister. Ruark was featured in one episode of the show but her sexual orientation was not revealed at the time. Ruark and her partner, Sharon Callahan, do not support Michelle’s lifestyle choices, including her discrimination of gays, and her alleged activism toward stripping gay people of their rights.
The family’s intolerance over the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community was highlighted after The Duggars’ Facebook page deleted a photo of John Becker, editor of the LGBT blog The Bilerico Project, kissing his boyfriend, which had been posted in response to a campaign on the show's page. The incident triggered criticism toward the anti-gay family and a petition on Change.org was signed by more than 185,700 people, demanding the cancelation of the TLC show.
Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the family, is reportedly the executive director of the anti-gay Family Research Council’s legislative group, FRC Action. “I have an aunt…and I love my aunt,” Josh said on a radio show last year. “She believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”