The New Yorker’s Same-Sex Marriage Cover May Surprise You

New Yorker magazine cover features Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie viewing the Supreme Court justices.

The New Yorker went there.

Next week’s cover of the magazine features the back of the heads of “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie, intimately posted against one another on a couch, watching the nine Supreme Court justices on television.

“It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” Jack Hunter, the creator of the image, told New Yorker of his artwork. “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.”

Update: New Yorker did acknowledge that the artwork had first been submitted by Hunter to the online social network Tumblr, but didn’t say how long ago. As Gawker notes, the illustration has been online for a year. The original, however, showed the TV projecting an image of President Barack Obama. Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage in summer 2012.

The Supreme Court issued two rulings Wednesday that bolstered the case in favor of same-sex marriage.

Bert and Ernie have long been the subject of rumors that the fictional roommate puppets are gay. Sesame Street has, however, denied them.

“Bert and Ernie are best friends,” Sesame Street Workshop said in a statement in 2011. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Bert and Ernie were notably portrayed as a gay couple riddled with guilty feelings about their sexual orientation in the 2002 short film “Ernest and Bertram.”

ShowBiz 411’s Roger Friedman wrote Wednesday that the New Yorker cover is a reference to that film.

“When director Peter Spears went there in his 2002 short film ‘Ernest and Bertram,’ Childrens’ Television Workshop shut him down instantly,” Friedman wrote. “I know because I was in the audience at the Eccles Theater at Sundance the one and only time it was shown. I wrote about it a few minutes later. CTW sent a cease and desist letter over copyright violation. I’d be surprised if CTW doesn’t do the same for The New Yorker.”

Business Insider called the cover “a clear nod to the effect that pop culture has played in shifting public opinion on gay marriage over the past decade.”

Watch “Ernest and Bertram” here:

Follow Eddie Scarry on Twitter @eScarry