Should Bert and Ernie get married? Over 900 people think so.
A petition started by Lair Scott, exhorts the makers of Sesame Street to let the two old friends get hitched. Gay marriage became legal in New York this June, increasing the number of states in the country to do so to six.
The petition letter reads:
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. We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful by allowing Bert & Ernie to marry. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.
The pair of puppets has long been rumored to be a veiled representation of a gay couple, though the Children's Television Workshop has denied that this is the case.
The petition echoes the message of the "It Gets Better" project, founded in 2010 following the suicides of a number of young gay men, including Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas and others.
Reactions thus far have been mixed. An editorial in the New York Daily News, headlined "Folks who want a gay marriage for Bert and Ernie of 'Sesame Street' need to get over themselves," went on to say:
"Why stop there? Why not march Yogi Bear and Boo Boo down the aisle, too?... Some stages of life - for example, the years from 2 to 4 - must be walled off from the passions of adults."
Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress agrees, but for different reasons. If Bert and Ernie were gay, she would be all for a marriage, but Rosenberg has a problem with same-sex roommates being equated with gay couples.
"I think it’s actively unhelpful to gay and straight men alike to perpetuate the idea that all same-sex roommates, be they puppet or human, must necessarily be a gay couple," Rosenberg wrote. "Having close, affectionate friendships with another man doesn’t mean that you two are sleeping together."
Greg Kelly said on "Good Day NY" this morning that there are clear signs Bert and Ernie straight, but that he got tripped up by the picture on Bert and Ernie's wall.
"It's clearly a roommate situation," Kelly said. "They sleep in separate beds, the wardrobe, grooming."
"However, they do have a picture of themselves on the wall, which would suggest, well, unusual behavior," Kelly said. "Not unusual, but that they… never mind."
Twitter is just starting to buzz with reactions. Many are encouraging circulating the petition, some are incredulous and others are having a laugh -- one user quipped that Batman and Robin should be first.
Since its start in 1969, Sesame Street has traditionally taken on difficult subjects in an effort to educate children, including divorce, tolerance of racial diversity, and real life disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the September 11, 2001 attacks.
WATCH Greg Kelly discuss the Bert and Ernie petition on "Good Day NY":
Clarification: This article has been modified to clarify that Kevin Kelly, not Veronica, is the first gay character in the "Veronica" series.
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