This past Monday, Mr. Ratburn from PBS’s Arthur came out in a special wedding episode, and, right on time, One Million Moms has a petition to tell PBS to pull the episode.
Arthur is the longest-running children’s cartoon on TV, having been on the air since 1996. The show is based on the books about Arthur the aardvark, his family, and friends, by Marc Brown.
On Monday’s episode, they found out that their teacher, Mr. Ratburn, got married. While the kids eventually learned that he is marrying another man, they didn’t make a big deal out of it.
One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, is always up in arms over what they deem inappropriate content in children’s media, and that often means LGBTQ content. And they’re mad about Mr. Ratburn getting married, too.
“Discussion of such controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to parents,” One Million Moms says on their website.
“PBS Kids should not introduce this to young children. 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.”
Of course, exclusively showing heterosexual people for the cartoon’s first 21 seasons wasn’t an agenda. It’s the one time that they show a gay wedding that there’s an agenda.
One Million Moms cites an episode of Postcards from Buster, a spin-off of Arthur, which featured lesbian parents in 2005. PBS actually pulled that episode after complaints – including a complaint from the George W. Bush’s Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings – and One Million Moms thinks that’s still possible in 2019.
“Controversial at the time, PBS eventually pulled the episode after then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings disapproved of the publicly funded network’s program, according to the outlet,” One Million Moms wrote on its website.
Their petition invites people to express outrage.
I am outraged that PBS Kids would use their children’s network to promote same sex marriage. It is offensive to me and my family that the network would glorify the homosexual lifestyle. Until PBS Kids agrees to no longer air this episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” or others with same sex couples, then conservative families including my own will have no choice but to discontinue watching PBS Kids Network, even avoiding previews, commercials, and reruns. Therefore, my family will not be able to allow PBS Kids in our home. Please cancel this controversial content immediately. You will not have my support as long as you continue to veer away from family-friendly entertainment.
While the current Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, isn’t the biggest fan of LGBTQ people either, it’s unlikely that One Million Moms will have the same success.