An online petition launched Monday argues that for the sake of children, PBS and Sesame Street should acknowledge that long-term “roommates” Bert and Ernie are gay and allow the Muppets to marry.
According to the petition posted to Change.org and promoted on Facebook, if the beloved characters were to disclose the true nature of their relationship, it “would show children and their parents that not only is it acceptable but also teach children that homophobia is wrong, bullying is wrong and that Sesame Street should recognize that there are LGBT relationships, families, and include them in their show.”
Rumors that Bert and Ernie represent a gay couple have long circulated, with the Children’s Television Workshop, now known as Sesame Workshop, issuing formal denials as early as 1993.
“Bert and Ernie, who’ve been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future,” said the statement almost 20 years ago. “They are puppets, not humans. Like all the Muppets created for Sesame Street, they were designed to help educate preschoolers. Bert and Ernie are characters who help demonstrate to children that despite their differences, they can be good friends.”
In 1994, Joseph Chambers, a North Carolina preacher, attempted to get the duo banned because of their close living arrangement and “blatantly effeminate characteristics,” saying on a radio show, “If this isn’t meant to represent a homosexual union, I can’t imagine what it’s supposed to represent.”
You have got to be kidding me! So, now we need to slap a label on Bert and Ernie? Foolishness!!!! I would not like to see this happen. I do not think any of the muppets should be getting married. Aren’t they supposed to be relating to the kids? What preschooler can relate to marriage? They need to leave the focus on education!