NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Bert and Ernie have been teaching New Yorkers for decades about friendship on Sesame Street, but could they be more than just friends? An online petition is calling for the cohabitating puppet duo to get married.
“I think that would be amazing actually, bigger than William and Kate’s wedding in England, right?” Mike Connolly of Yonkers told CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne.
More than 4,000 people have signed the petition on the website Change.org. “Let Bert & Ernie Get Married On Sesame Street” says that the move would teach tolerance and acceptance to the shows young viewers.
In response to all of the online buzz, the PBS show posted the following statement on its Facebook page:
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They 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.”
New York is the largest state in the Union to allow gay marriage.
LINK: Read the petition
“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. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives,” wrote Lair Scott of Oak Park, Il., who originated the petition.
The idea has gotten folks in the Big Apple talking.
“I never got the whole gay thing. I think two guys could live together without being gay, but if that’s the direction that they wanted to take it, take their relationship a little bit further, then sure, why not?” said tourist Andrean Clark of Portland, Oregon.
“It think it’s cute,” said Margie Louis of Queens.
The petition sparked some online reaction as well: A series of other petitions that are shooting down the idea. One says “Don’t allow us (as a society) to sexualize the two icons of childhood.”
Sesame Street’s creators have not issued a formal response. In the past when the issue has come up, the show’s creators have said Bert and Ernie are just friends, and as puppets do not exist below the waist.
What do you think of the petition? Sound off in our comments section below…