Reality stars The Duggars are feeling the heat after allegedly removing images of married same-sex couples from their Facebook photo challenge.
Both The Bilerico Project's John Becker and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activist Charles Chan Massey say images of them with their respective husbands were deleted from the Duggar's Facebook page after they personally uploaded them, ET Online first reported.
"My post was soon deleted and I was banned from commenting, liking and posting any comments or photographs on their page," Massey told RadarOnline. He noted that the image included the hashtag #loveislove and a note specifying that he and his husband had been together for 20 years and married for one.
In an email sent to The Huffington Post, Becker said:
"I added our photo because even though the Duggars included an introductory statement about their belief in marriage discrimination, they specifically invited 'all married couples' to respond to their 'happily married picture' challenge. Since Michael and I are both legally and happily married, we decided to participate.
We also knew about the Duggars' high-profile anti-LGBT activism, so we felt that our participation as a same-sex couple would highlight the dissonance between their professed support of love, intimacy, and marriage and the fact that they work so hard to obstruct the happiness and legal marriage rights of loving couples like us."
Jim Bob and Michelle, the heads of the "19 Kids and Counting" family, launched the social media initiative after their daughter Jessa, 22, was criticized for posting a photo of herself passionately smooching Ben Seewald, who is now her husband.
The Duggars duplicated the shot, noting, "We are so grateful they waited to share their first kiss until after marriage."
In response to the media attention the controversy is receiving, Becker told The Huffington Post:
"I'm a little surprised by how big of a story this has become, but I think it's really indicative of the larger conversation that we're having in our culture right now. We're moving decisively towards greater support and acceptance and equality for LGBT people, but there remains this shrinking minority of folks who are trying desperately to preserve a place of deference and respect for homophobia in society. But as this controversy shows, most people -- including many die-hard Duggar fans -- reject that view. And that's a good thing."
A spokesperson for The Duggars did not respond to a request from The Huffington Post for a comment regarding the incident but the family did post the following on their Facebook page on Thursday evening:
The Rick Warren quote appears to be quite popular with those accused of anti-gay behavior. In October, Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of a bakery in Oregon who turned away a lesbian couple looking for a wedding cake, used it after feeling the heat from comments they made at the Values Voter Summit.