By Nico Lang
The public may have forgotten about the Duggars, but Arkansas has not.
The family’s TLC reality show, Counting On, quietly debuted its ninth season last month. A spinoff of the once-popular 19 Kids and Counting, it was developed after reports broke that Josh Duggar, the oldest child of Jim Bob and Michelle, molested four of his 18 siblings as a teenager. TLC swiftly canceled 19 Kids and Counting in the aftermath of the controversy. While that show was a ratings smash that made the Duggars a household name, just under 1.5 million watched Counting On’s February 11 premiere to see fourth-oldest daughter Jinger Duggar prepare for motherhood.
But for residents of Fayetteville, the show’s return was an unwelcome reminder of its own troubled history with the embattled reality stars. Less than two weeks prior, the Arkansas Supreme Court had effectively struck down a citywide nondiscrimination ordinance in the college town of around 73,000. Ordinance 5781 outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
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