Fans petition Sesame Street to let Bert and Ernie marry
They are two men who have lived faithfully together for more than 40 years.
Through thick and thin, better and worse they have shared a tiny New York apartment on the same New York Street.
Now that New York state has legalized gay marriage, more than 1,500 people have signed a petition encouraging the pair to finally tie the knot and get married.
It seems like a logical next step.
That is until you remember these are puppets and not just any puppets, these are Muppets.
Yes an online campaign has begun to pressure the producers of Sesame Street to have Bert and Ernie get married.
The online petition launched by Lair Scott of Oak Park Illinois explains the plea this way:
In this horrific age of LGBT kids taking their own lives, they need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living. Aside from those that are committing suicide, the bullies that facilitate these tragedies need to learn that homophobia is NOT okay. They need to know that acceptance of their fellow human beings would indeed plant a seed of peace that will reverberate throughout the world.
But the fact remains these are still characters and they have no sexuality. For decades rumors have percolated that Bert and Ernie are a gay couple, but for just as long as the rumors have persisted PBS has denied they hold any truth.
Many critics of the idea go even further and express outrage that the idea is even being proposed. This commenter on the petition who goes by the name Jason Sanchez writes:
Lair Scott you are a sick person to even petition something like this. How could you expose children to homosexuality at such young age. You or any other person of that nature have no right to expose a child's fragile mind to such situations. It is not ok to show that type of stuff on a child's educational show.
Another commenter writes:
What's next???? PLEASE don't steal the childhood away from innocent children by making their favorite characters into gay people. Don't you think they are exposed to enough harmful acts in their life? Don't give kids more stupid ideas!!!!!!
Christina Batstone writes:
This seems like such a small act, but children need to have LGBT relationships normalized so they don't grow up ignorant. Go Bert and Ernie!
Sesame Street’s producers have broached hot button social issues in the past including the creation of an HIV positive Muppet named Kami in 2002. The show has also featured at least one marriage between opposite sex partners (Maria and Luis).
We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful. Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different.
On Thursday Sesame Street Workshop issued a statement to the Hollywood Reporter in response to the petition:
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” said Sesame Workshop in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”