The Washington Post

No harm in letting Bert and Ernie get married

Come on, admit it. Despite official denials from “Sesame Street,” you’ve always wondered what was up with cozy roommates Bert and Ernie of “Sesame Street.” Their friendship was that mix of intimacy, respect and cranky familiarity that are the foundations of a good relationship. So, it’s no wonder there is a petition circulating asking the show to let the two muppets get married. That’s a ceremony I’d love to attend.

“Sesame Street” has made it its mission to promote “respect & understanding” and “emotional well-being” among children (and their parents). And the show’s producers haven’t been afraid to use their platform to broach uncomfortable or controversial subjects to further those goals. My former colleagues at the New York Daily News editorial board don’t think having Bert and Ernie wed is a good idea. “But some stages of life — for example, the years from 2 to 4 — must be walled off from the passions of adults,” the editorial says. I understand where they’re coming from. Their headline — “They’re just muppets” — makes it pretty clear. I just don’t agree.

Children look for reflections of themselves in the world around them. If a gay kid takes a gander at Bert and Ernie and feels a pang of familiarity, that’s great. Whether the fuzzy fellas get married or not, at least that gay kid will be seeing a positive image that will bolster his budding self-image. And there’s no harm in that.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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