HGTV has responded to the controversy that followed after it was reported that Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of the popular series “Fixer Upper,” attend a church that is firmly against same-sex marriage.
“We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows,” reads the statement sent to Variety and several other publications. “HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series.”
The church in question, Antioch Community Church, is led by pastor Jimmy Seibert, who has long been against homosexuality. Most notably, he delivered a 2015 sermon denouncing homosexuality following the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The sermon was recorded and is available online.
“God defined marriage, not you and I,” said the pastor. “God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I.”
In addition, Seibert believes that homosexuality is a “lifestyle” choice, and that conversion therapy is necessary for those who identify as LGBTQ.
“We can change, contrary to what you hear,” Seibert continued “I’ve worked with people for over 30 years — I have seen hundreds of people personally change their direction of same-sex attraction from a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual lifestyle. It doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with feelings, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurting, it doesn’t mean it’s not challenging. But they have chosen to change. And there has always been grace there for those who choose that.”
However, in a recent interview with Fox News, Seibert addressed the controversy and denied that the church is anti-gay.
“People don’t know what the Bible says anymore on issues of sexuality,” Seibert said. “People don’t know what God says on homosexuality or any other issue. I felt the need to say we are all a mess -– but the fixed points were set by God –- not us.”
“We are pro-helping people in their journey to find out who God is and who He has made them to be,” he added.
Chip and Joanna Gaines have not yet responded to the backlash.