On Sesame Street and Gay Marriage
My take, contra Julian Sanchez, is that Bert and Ernie should not get married A) because the show’s creators say they’re not gay, and B) because Sesame Street doesn’t really deal with sexuality because its intended audience is three year olds. Yes, the Count does have some flings with random muppets in which he inevitably obsesses over numbers and ignores his date, but for the most part, the muppets themselves are basically nonsexual beings. Apparently Oscar the Grouch has a girlfriend, but she must be a minor enough character that most people don’t know about her. Making two of the most prominent, well-known muppets a married gay couple would be a huge transformation of the show.
I’m fine with keeping it basically a non-sexual show given the demographic. So aside from the creative intent of the show’s creators, I just don’t see the point of throwing in marriage and sexuality into the show in such a significant way. Julian argues that because there are heterosexual relationships in Sesame Street it’s somehow de facto teaching kids about sexuality. Well yeah, the people in the show definitely have relationships.
So I’d say the safest bet, if Sesame Street decides to add gay characters to the show, would be to add a new gay couple to the cast of real people (not muppets) as Alyssa Rosenberg suggests. That would be a much less controversial, less confusing-to-toddlers, and perfectly fine way to introduce gay rights to Sesame Street.