Meet the Other 'Duggar' Family: 19 and Counting

Bates family
Gil and Kelly Bates have 19 biological children. (Facebook)

19 Kids and Counting has made the Duggar family popular, but there's another family of 21 that's making headlines.

ABC's Good Morning America recently reported about the Bates, "an evangelical, conservative Christian family" who lives "a modest lifestyle at their home outside of Knoxville, Tennessee."

Gil and Kelly Bates, who have 19 biological children, believe God is in charge of family planning and do not use any form of birth control.

Their oldest, Zach, is 25, and their youngest, Jeb, is 2 1/2. In between are Michael, Erin, Lawson, Nathan, Alyssa, Tori, Trace, Carlin, Josie, Katie, Jackson, Warden, Isaiah, Addaliee, Ellie, Callie and Judson. 

The couple, who believes life begins at conception, argues that a 2-day-old embryo is as deserving of medical intervention as any of their children. After three miscarriages, Kelly Bates started taking progesterone to increase her changes of having healthy pregnancies.

"Although we just want to trust God, but at the same time, if there's already a life living, we don't want to deny medical help for a baby that's in trouble," Kelly said.

Three of the Bates children have married. Their spouses must be parent-approved and must share their Christian values.

Alyssa, 19, is the latest Bates sibling to walk down the aisle. She and her husband, John Webster—the son of Florida Congressman Daniel Webster—were never alone together in the year they dated. As part of the family's rule of courtship, the couple had hardly any physical contact before they became husband and wife.

For her wedding dress, no strapless or plunging necklines were allowed. She had to have it altered to add cap sleeves.

"On the wedding day, she should feel beautiful, comfortable and appropriate," her mother said.

Of the 600 invited wedding guests were the Duggars, stars of TLC's hit show 19 Kids and Counting.

The Bates family does not own a television or have their own show, but they've earned a large following online. Lawson, the fourth child, has more than 12,000 followers on Instagram. Alyssa has 23,000 Instagram followers.


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