Mr. Ratburn from the PBS children’s show “Arthur” got married to another man in the show’s 22nd season premiere, prompting negative reactions from conservative and religious groups.
On Monday, PBS aired “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” guest starring lesbian actor Jane Lynch.
In the episode, Arthur, Francine, Buster, and Muffy discover their third-grade teacher, Mr. Ratburn, is engaged. But the animal friends are surprised to discover that on the day of the wedding, Mr. Ratburn walks down the aisle arm in arm with his partner, Patrick, a local chocolatier. As the two animated creatures walk down the aisle, all guests smile in celebration of the same-sex marriage. Afterward, the students eat cake, which was shown earlier in the episode with two toppers that resemble Mr. Ratburn and Patrick.
“Mr. Ratburn is married, I still can’t believe it,” Arthur says.
“Yup, it’s a brand-new world,” Francine responds.
The episode closes with the animal friends happily eating cake as Mr. Ratburn and Patrick dance together nearby.
Maria Vera Whelan, the senior director of marketing, communications and social media for children’s media and education at PBS, said in a statement that PBS Kids programs are “designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation.”
“We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day,” she said, according to the New York Times.
The move elicited praise from LGBT advocacy organizations and was widely celebrated on Twitter. GLAAD congratulated Mr. Ratburn on Twitter, adding a rainbow emoji.
But others expressed dismay over the decision to include a same-sex couple in a children’s TV show.
Cathy Ruse, Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Legal Studies, told The Christian Post, “Remember, Americans didn’t ask for a re-definition of marriage, it was forced on them by activist judges, who overturned tens of millions of votes cast to keep marriage a man-woman institution,” she said.
“But gay activists are not satisfied with just changing the law — people must change their beliefs, too. There can be no dissent. Children are not asking for their cartoon characters to be gay — activists in the entertainment industry are forcing it on them.”
Children’s entertainment, she said, is “no longer informed by a Judeo-Christian values system, but by left-wing political interest groups.”
“Now more than ever, parents have to be vigilant about the media their children consume,” she warned. “Parents trust shows made for children, and the creators of the show are taking advantage of their trust.”
On Facebook, evangelist Franklin Graham said the PBS series is clearly promoting the “LGBTQ agenda.”
Click here to read more.
SORUCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett