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 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 301.

    @ Graeme Harrison - Nice one Graeme :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    Who actually signs these petitions?

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    "I have to keep on reiterating - Sesame Street has 'heterosexual' relationships (Miss Piggy and Kermit)."

    No it doesn't. Miss Piggy isn't in Sesame Street. Stop whinging!

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    RayCraig: If a child starts to ask where male couples get their children from, the discussion would begin at the wallet (or worse) rather than the womb.


    Gay friends of mine became parents with the help of a very close female friend.

    No money, definitely a womb, loads of love.

    So, you are wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    In all honesty this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Not because there shouldnt be gay characters per se who may or may not choose to marry, but because Bert and Ernie have never been gay (or even straight) in the first place so why would they suddenly have a same sex marriage

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    @233 Richard Davies - So what about Sesame Street featuring the first mainstream Black characters in a children's show? Do you think that 'campaigning' should have been kept out as well? I certainly hope so otherwise you are being selective in your bigotry!

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.


    Straight propaganda? Really? Is there a campaign to get Bert and Ernire married to female puppets?

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Richard Davies, I'm not using this issue to campaign, I've not signed the petition nor will I. However, your post and the way you went from gay relationship to illegal and highly immoral acts showed a deep homophobia that needs challenging.

    There's also a strong double stand here that's worth pointing out, namely straight relationships are fine but gay ones are someone damaging. Pure hypocrisy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    I have to keep on reiterating - Sesame Street has 'heterosexual' relationships (Miss Piggy and Kermit). It is the HEIGHT of hypocracy to say that characters in a same sex relationship alone is somehow subversive or associated to 'sex'

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    280. Mojo "There are good reasons why we don't allow children to smoke, or drink, or drive, or vote, or have sex, or go to war."

    Introducing a same-sex relationship via puppets is hardly on a par with sending kids to war. We have ethnically diverse characters partly to get kids used to the fact that not everyone looks the same as them; why is introducing gay characters any different?

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    When I first read this article I started to think that the BBC website had been hijacked by Chris Moyles in some kind of Brass Eye spoof.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    @Display Name (221), how right you are. Same sex relationships are exactly like zoophilia and necrophilia. Ok there isn't dead bodies or animals involved but apart from that they're identical! I'm off to have a pint of beer now which will no doubt lead to me taking class A drugs, losing my job and going on a killing spree...

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    #283. Thanks! To be fair I get sick of Russel T Davis making the sexuality of all his characters their defining characteristic (Captain Jack is an immortal alien, but he's a GAY immortal alien) but suggesting he's a paedophile is ridiculous. Also glosses over the fact that Dr Who nearly got it on with Billie Piper & his new assistant has just got married (to a man) and had a baby!

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    I agree with Corall - for crying out loud just leave the kids programmes as they are. They are bombarded with enough stuff as it is. Keep it simple as its always been - didnt hurt us as kids then. Too much knowledge is not a good thing!!!!! Let them enjoy being children and watching a programme for the sake of watching it.!!

  • Comment number 287.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    I learned everything I needed to know about having roommates from Bert and Ernie. Especially, "don't sleep with your roommates".

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    @Muppet_master - I have worked it out - But you are still wrong if you think this is about 'imposing a sexual preference' on children. Its showing them how society is made up - like having black or disabled characters - so they understand not to fear what is different

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    I grew up watching Sesame Street and enjoyed it, still do with a sense of nostalgia but never once did I think that Bert and Ernie were a couple. I think probably, I assumed that they were brothers, or cousins. Perhaps if people feel they need to have a sexual connection to something it would be rubber duckies for ernie and pigeons for bert. Just leave them be!

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    Not only did he equate gay=paedophile but he also didn't read the article as it clearly stated that the shows producers had no intention of pandering to this daft petition.
    Just as with his previous posts RayCraig shows his ignorance of the topic under discussion and merely wished to air his homophobic and ignorant viewpoint.


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