A new issue has been shown to give people information to talk about, and it is related to PBS Cartoons. If you thought PBS Kids cartoons was a neutral space in the debate over LGBT issues, it is time for you to reconsider.
Believe or not, the popular PBS Kids series Arthur broke new ground on Monday by inserting a same-sex wedding into the plot.
According to those who follow the issue, this is the first-ever gay wedding in a PBS children’s cartoon.
Inside of the episode, viewers see Mr. Ratburn walking down the aisle with another man, Patrick, arm in arm. Patrick winks at the kids. Arthur smiles. The episode skips the ceremony but shows the reception, where Mr. Ratburn and his partner are dancing awkwardly to an upbeat song. “It’s a brand-new world,” one of Arthur’s friends says.
The spokesperson for PBS took participation to defend the topic by saying “PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation,” Maria Vera Whelan, the senior director of marketing, communications and social media for children’s media and education at PBS, said in a press release. “We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), applauded the show.
“You know at a very young age if you are trans and gay or bisexual and lesbian,” Ellis told The New York Times. “To be able to see yourself reflected is critical.”
However, people like Glenn T. Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said the episode will frustrate most parents.
“Parents are very tired of their kids’ cartoons engaging in radical political messaging rather than simply teaching universally held values such as kindness, hard work, cooperation and friendship,” Stanton told Christian Headlines. “These elites who think they know what is best for the rest of us wonder why their influence is shrinking. It’s not hard to figure out.”
Monica Cole of One Million Moms also took part to criticize the episode, saying the “discussion of such controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to parents.”
“PBS Kids should not introduce this to young children,” Cole said. “Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct. PBS Kids should stick to entertaining and providing family-friendly programming, instead of pushing an agenda.”