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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 08/11/2011

About that Bert and Ernie marriage petition


“I know it’s legal now, Ernie, but I’m pretty sure I don’t exist below the waist!” (Katherine Frey)
Let's talk about that Bert and Ernie marriage proposal.

A petition for Bert and Ernie to get married is now circling on the Interwebs.  

Can’t two anthropomorphic orange and yellow puppets share a bedroom for 40 years without people thinking they're gay?

By this criteria, most of my socks are gay.

Look, my only hobby is signing online petitions. And I'm all for equality. But I just don't think muppets ought to be allowed to marry. It's hard enough explaining marriage with Hugh Hefner around. Now I have to tell my putative kids that "marriage is something that happens between two muppets who have lived together, bickering lovingly over rubber ducks and pigeons, for more than 30 years"? Does this really need to happen?

The petition proclaims: “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.... 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.”

I wish I actually thought that wedding Bert and Ernie would fix bullying and teach gay teens that they ARE BEAUTIFUL. If it were that easy, everyone would sign the petition.

But this is just playing into the hands of the Culture Warmongers. “See?” they say. “They’re trying to dragoon the non-human characters on a beloved children’s show now!”

You know you’re probably not enhancing anyone’s acceptance of anything or moving the debate anywhere insightful when someone gets to sensibly point out that “neither of them, as far as we know, even have genitalia, because they are puppets, for crying out loud!”

Sure, sign the petition. But consider the slippery slope.

Next, someone will start a petition for Salt and Pepper to get married. They travel everywhere together — sometimes Salt leaves for mysterious weekend trips to visit chicken dishes, but every couple has to negotiate their own rules — and they generally wear cute matching outfits. Yes, I realize that they are inanimate containers for spices, but they're so clearly Meant To Be.

How about Spongebob and Squidward? Timon and Pumba? Lumiere and Cogsworth? C3PO and R2D2?

Maybe these fictional characters would be delighted to tie the proverbial knot, but it misses the point. If there’s one thing I can say definitively about children’s television, it is that it abounds with characters who Ought To Be Married Probably If You Squint Long Enough. Where do you draw the line? “Sesame Street” is a kids’ show. And much as these nuptials might delight some adults, it’s not about the adults.

Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you have to. I know Jimmy McMillan says if you want to marry a shoe, he’ll marry you, but he’s alone in that.

Let's just focus on getting actual people married, and then we can worry about everything else.  

By  |  12:30 PM ET, 08/11/2011

Tags:  Bert & Ernie, marriage

 
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