SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The producers of public television’s “Sesame Street” on Thursday publicly rejected a San Francisco-based group’s online petition campaign to allow a same-sex marriage between characters Bert and Ernie on the longstanding children’s show.
The Children’s Television Workshop, in a statement posted on Sesame Street’s Facebook page, indicated that marriage between the two “best friends” was out of the question because puppets “do not have a sexual orientation.”
In their petition entitled “Let Bert & Ernie Get Married On Sesame Street,” the group Change.org said it could help “put an end to the bullying and suicides of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trasngender) youth.”
The petition added that “[w]e are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful by allowing Bert & Ernie to marry.” It also suggested that the show “even add a transgender character… in a tasteful way.”
But in their statement Thursday, the CTW said Bert and Ernie “were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.”
“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,” the statement concluded.
The two characters — who were first debuted in the original “Sesame Street” pilot episode in July 1969 — have long been depicted as bickering best friends who sleep in the same room together, but in separate beds.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)