That amazing Arthur episode featuring Mr. Ratburn’s same-sex wedding didn’t air in Alabama, because of course it didn’t
By now, everyone should know that Mr. Ratburn, the teacher on the PBS series Arthur, is gay and also our newest LGBTQ+ icon. His sexual orientation was revealed on a recent episode when Arthur and the gang attended his wedding. They assumed a woman was the bride, but later found out that was his sister, as Mr. Ratburn walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with his soon-to-be husband.
It was a very sweet message, and the nonchalant reaction of Arthur and Mr. Ratburn’s other students definitely reflected the more accepting attitude many kids today have toward same-sex marriage, which has been legal for the entire lifetime of the average Arthur viewer. But that doesn’t mean everyone is that open. Namely, the entire state of Alabama, where the episode wasn’t allowed to air.
Alabama Public Television officials made the call not to air the episode, and instead, showed a re-run of Arthur in its time slot. The reason was pretty much what you’d expect from Alabama.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” APT director of programming Mike McKenzie said in a statement. “More importantly — although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards — parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.”
He continued, “The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not. Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode.”
I mean, it’s not like is surprising. But it’s definitely sad and disappointing.
Of course this happened in Alabama, the state that just outlawed practically all abortions in an attempt to get the issue back in front of the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade (every single vote in favor of that law came from a man, we might add). Alabama, this is why you can’t have nice things. Hell, Alabama is the reason America can’t have nice things.
Listen up, Alabama. We live in a country where marriage is a human right that is afforded to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Pretending in front of your children that same-sex marriage doesn’t exist won’t make it any less legal, or any less of a right. What it will do is cause serious damage to kids in your state who are LGBTQ+, and tell them that they are not wanted or valid in your state. It will tell them that their sexuality is something wrong and dirty that needs to stay hidden from view, that isn’t appropriate for children to see, when in reality, it’s as perfect and beautiful as any other kind of love.
Alabama, your kids deserve to know how much they’re loved. Since they aren’t hearing that from you, we can only hope they read this.
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