WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- “Arthur’s” 22nd season premiere on Monday featured a same-sex marriage, and the viewers are feeling the love.
- Mr. Ratburn, the third-grade teacher from “Arthur” got married to an aardvark named Patrick.
- We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS KIDS every day,” the PBS said in a statement.
The PBS children’s TV show “Arthur” premiered its 22nd season on Monday, featuring a same-sex marriage between Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, and an aardvark named Patrick.
“Mr. Ratburn is married. I still can’t believe it,” Arthur told his friends.
“Yep. It’s a brand-new world,” Francine replied.
Fans of the kids’ show praised the network for featuring the gay wedding. Some even posted online to voice their support.
“Welcome out and congratulations Mr. Ratburn!” one Twitter user wrote.
“I never thought I’d see the day that a PBS Kids show, especially Arthur, have a gay character. Way to go Mr. Ratburn! It’s a good day to be alive,” another user commented.
Even GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) joined in the fun by also praising the union.
“Congratulations Mr. Ratburn!” the organization, which was founded by LGBT people in the media, posted on Twitter.
In a statement to PEOPLE, PBS offered its explanation about why it feels an obligation to depict a variety of lifestyles.
“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,” the network said.
The “Arthur” TV family has featured same-sex relationships prior to Mr. Ratburn’s wedding. “Postcards From Buster,” a spinoff, featured a lesbian couple in a 2005 episode that was met with some brushback, according to Variety. However Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings spoke out against it, so PBS pulled the episode, but some affiliates were able to air it.