Sesame Street pair Bert and Ernie 'will not marry'

Bert and Ernie Bert and Ernie have lived together for more than 40 years

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The makers of Sesame Street say characters Bert and Ernie will not marry in a same-sex ceremony despite an online petition calling for the union.

Campaigners say the best friends should marry as a way to encourage tolerance of gay people.

Nearly 7,000 have signed the petition, with more than 3,000 joining a Bert and Ernie Get Married Facebook page.

A statement from the show's makers said: "They remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation."

But they conceded that the pair are "male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics".

The confirmed bachelors have lived together for 40 years and sleep in the same bedroom, albeit in single beds.

"Bert and Ernie are best friends," the statement from Sesame Workshop added. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.

The online petition states: "We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful," adding, "It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different."

Sesame Street was created by TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney and psychologist Lloyd Morrisett in 1969 and gained a huge following, led by the creations of master puppeteer Jim Henson.

Beloved characters include Elmo, the Cookie Monster and Big Bird.

It is still watched in more than 140 countries and averages 120 million viewers worldwide.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    Grow up people! Let 'em get married! It's not as if we're going to see them making out! What a pointlessly narrow-minded world we still live in!

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    This makes no sense to me. Because Bert and Ernie are close friends and room mates they must be closet gays and should come out as such? Is that a positive message to send? occurs to me that if parents are teaching negative behaviour towards gay people then sesame street can't do that much to change this, acceptance starts at home, it doesn't happen just because you decided to make characters gay

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    Why the pressure to marry in the first place? Why can't two people be very fond of one another and not just share their lives? I think the suggestion over complicates things on so many levels. Leave Bert & Ernie alone, please!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    Using this logic shouldn't Laurel & Hardy have been married? They even shared the same bed for pity sake.

    What a lot of fuss about nothing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.


    It's not 'teaching sexual politics'. That's precisely the opposite of what it is. TV programs now have characters who reflect the society we live in in order that kids get used to the fact that it contains lots of different kinds of people. If your 5-yr-old turns out to be gay, you'd better hope that his/her peers have learnt 'the skills required to get on in life'- tolerance, acceptance...


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