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Beloved children’s PBS cartoon features a main character who comes out as gay and marries his partner
Image source: YouTube screenshot

Beloved children’s PBS cartoon features a main character who comes out as gay and marries his partner


A cartoon character on government-funded PBS' hit kids' show "Arthur" has come out as gay, and the show's latest season shows the character marrying his male partner.

What are the details?

The namesake character's teacher, Mr. Ratburn, came out in the Season 22 premiere and married his partner.

The episode, which is titled, "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," featured the couple's wedding.

According to TV Line, "Arthur and his pals are shocked to discover that Mr. Ratburn is engaged."

Arthur and company showed up to Mr. Ratburn's wedding, where they witnessed the nuptials.

The outlet reported that a 2005 episode of a related PBS show featured another gay character.

"A 2005 episode of the show's spinoff, 'Postcards From Buster,' found the titular rabbit visiting Vermont to learn how maple sugar is made," the outlet reported. "While there, he met several children whose moms were lesbians, to which he commented, 'Boy, that's a lot of moms!'"

The show did not use LGBT terminology in either of the referenced episodes.

Anything else?

In 2005, PBS' former chief operating officer, Wayne Godwin, said gay characters would not necessarily have a place in the public television network's cartoons despite the 2005 episode of "Postcards From Buster," which was not distributed to all markets.

"In fairness I would have to say a gay character is not one we would not include," he said at the time. "The fact that a character may or may not be gay is not a reason why they should or should not be part of this series."

Former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings spoke in opposition to the PBS program at the time and said that not all parents would want their children exposed to an LGBT lifestyle.

"The concern really was that there's a point where background [characters] becomes foreground," Godwin added. "No matter if the parents were intended to be background, with this specific item in this particular program they might simply be foreground because of press attention to it and parental attention to it."

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