Leave Bert and Ernie Alone

Gay marriage supporters don't support a petition for the puppets to get married

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Sure, Bert and Ernie are puppets. But three decades of rooming together have only encouraged speculation that they're gay. And since they reside on a national institution like Sesame Street, they've become the subject of a new petition by Change.org to let the characters tie the knot on air as a model of tolerance. While the usual outrage ensued at the notion of a Bert and Ernie gay marriage special, we noticed pushback arriving from the more progressive corners too.

"If Bert and Ernie were gay, I would be all for them bopping down to City Hall and getting hitched," wrote ThinkProgress's Alyssa Rosenberg. But advocates are forgetting one important thing. "The Sesame Workshop has repeatedly denied that either character is homosexual and that they are a couple," so it doesn't really make sense to force a wedding, she figured. In other words, why impose on their current roommate arrangement?

The Daily Beat's Andrew Sullivan agreed with Rosenberg, saying of Bert and Ernie's lifestyle choices: "My gripe is that I've not just been fighting for gays to have the right to marry for two decades; I've also been fighting for them to have the right not to marry, if they so choose. And that applies to Bert and Ernie," he wrote.

Jezebel's Whitney Jefferson concurred: "we understand where the petition is coming from. And yeah, children absolutely need to be told that they are loved regardless of their sexual orientation, height, weight, sex, and so forth." But then she helpfully reminds: but "these two puppets aren't actually people, remember?"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.