Residents of Fayetteville, Ark., may have been shocked this week to pick up the phone and hear a robocall narrated by Michelle Duggar, star and family matriarch of popular TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, urging them to vote "No" on a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance that she said would "affect the safety" of women and children using public restrooms in the area.
Despite her efforts, the city approved the proposal in question, Chapter 119, on Wednesday at 3:20 a.m. with a vote of 6-2, according to local website NWAHomepage.com.
The ordinance calls to protect the civil rights of citizens and to prohibit Fayetteville businesses from discriminating against people based on "real or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, disability and veteran status."
In the robocall, which was posted on FayettevilleFlyer.com and supported by the conservative group the Arkansas Family Council, Duggar, a 47-year-old married mother of nine daughters and 10 sons, Arkansas resident and devout Christian, begins by stating her name and soon directs her comments at what she called "males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female." The group Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) condemned Duggar's remarks.
"Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I'm calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children," Duggar says in the robocall. "The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men—yes I said men—to use women's and girls' restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. 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."
"I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space," she adds.
A draft of the proposal, which was posted by local website 5NewsOnline.com, had stated that the ordinance would allow transgender people to use any bathroom "in which they feel most comfortable and physically safe."
"Using the bathroom is a basic human function and denying that to a person is inhumane," it said.
In an online statement, GLAAD said that Duggar had spread "transphobic misinformation."
"Not only does Michelle voice the Arkansas Family Council's and FRC's (Family Research Council's) anti-LGBT bigotry and undying dedication to inciting baseless moral panic, but perhaps above all else, they have teamed up to demonstrate a complete ignorance about the issues at hand—namely, a lack of basic legal protections and respect for various members of Arkansas' community," the organization said.