There’s no doubt that Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines have a huge and beloved fan following. Aside from being on one of the most popular reality shows on HGTV, the married couple has also been featured on magazine covers and written a New York Times bestseller. But the Texas-based renovation superstars found themselves in some in hot water with one particular group of viewers last year after a BuzzFeed article put them at the center of a heated controversy — and these Chip and Joanna Gaines quotes about the LGBTQ community may help you understand why the controversy didn't die down all that quickly.
Last November, BuzzFeed's Kate Aurthur wrote an feature piece about the Gaines’ association with the Antioch Community Church, whose pastor, Jimmy Seibert, “takes a hard line against same-sex marriage and promotes converting LGBT people into being straight," and who reportedly called the reality TV stars his “dear friends,” according to the post. The piece went on to speculate whether the Gaineses were themselves anti-LGBTQ because of this connection.
(For its part, HGTV later responded to the BuzzFeed article, saying, "We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows. HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series.")
Many fans of the show and writers took issue with the piece and everything that it revealed, leaping to the couple's defense, but the pair later responded to the criticism directly themselves. Simply put, while the couple says they're not prejudiced against others, they believe everyone should all agree to disagree about personal beliefs and opinions. To some, that's not a satisfactory answer, but if nothing else, it at least got some productive dialogue going.
The Human Connection
About two months after the controversy hit headlines, Chip penned a blog post with the couple's response to the matter. While it did not specifically mention the BuzzFeed post, Chip expressed his and Joanna's "personal convictions" and wrote that they don't discriminate someone based on many things, including sexual orientation:
Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith. That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to cause we won’t play that way.
Agree To Disagree
In the same lengthy blog post, Chip wrote that he and Joanna wanted to change the conversation and want others to be content with the fact that other people have varying opinions and beliefs.
We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike. Listen to me, we do not all have to agree with each other. Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie.
Giving One Another A Break
In the same post, Chip suggested that in order to get along and work together, his audience should give each other a break from time to time.
... Let’s cut each other a little slack. This living out loud thing is not for the faint of heart. Jo and I don’t want to hide, we want to live brave & bold lives and we wish that same thing for you as well.
While these quotes don't explicitly address what the Gaines family thinks of their pastor's beliefs or those who are anti-LGBTQ, it's pretty clear they want their fans to know they believe everyone is entitled to hold their own personal beliefs.
And whether or not you like that answer, at least it's something.