(Photo: www.sesamestreet.org via The Christian Post)
News that kids show "Sesame Street" has no intention of having best buds Bert and Ernie tie the knot has had The Christian Post readers breathing a sigh of relief.
"I am so glad to read that common sense prevails on Sesame Street and that my old friends Bert and Ernie will remain friends and nothing more in spite of the attempts of a fringe group to create an alternative 'reality' on this children's show," wrote Lynn Infante Ware in response to The Christian Post’s report on the Bert and Ernie petition this week.
A group of online petitioners have been calling on Sesame Workshop to make long-time puppets Bert and Ernie gay, insisting having the two get married would teach children about tolerance.
One Christian Post commenter, Joe Caruso from New York City, does not believe tolerance is what the petition is actually aiming for.
"This latest temper tantrum by the gender revisionists proves their agenda has nothing to do with tolerance," he wrote in reaction to the story. "It has everything to do with indoctrination of our children."
Many readers of the story seem to agree with Caruso, insisting that it is parents' responsibility to teach children about sexuality.
"I thunk (sic) this is a subject that should be left to parents to address w/ their children in the way they see fit and what their beliefs are. This is not a subject for Sesame Street," wrote Dee Dee Bates-Whitney of Port Charlotte, Fla.
Joe Bonnette of Peoria, Ill., agrees.
"You're right, it isn't the media's responsibility to teach children, it's the parents," Bonnette wrote. "Parents should be teaching their children to be tolerant of those who... look or act different, have different beliefs, etc."
Although The Christian Post readers overwhelmingly agreed that sexuality has no place in a preschooler program such as "Sesame Street," some did wonder about Bert and Ernie's living arrangements.
"How many pairs of straight men do you know who not only share an apartment but also share a bedroom," asked Dale Richner of San Francisco, Calif.
Richner added that "just because there are 2 guys who are friends sharing a place doesn't make them straight, either. Gay people exist in the world... Pretending they don't exist doesn't help anything."
Producers of the show say Bert and Ernie, who have been rooming together since the show first aired in 1969, are just puppets and nothing more.
"Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics ... they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation," Sesame Workshop said Thursday in a statement to The Christian Post.
"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."
The change.org petition, started by Lair Scott on August 4, insists that "Sesame Street" can help teach children about "the tolerance of those that are different."
"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," the petition reads.
As of Friday morning, the petition had collected more than 7,300 signatures.