Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, on Tuesday tweeted that Bert and Ernie do not have a sexual orientation.

The tweet appeared to be a response to former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman, who told LGBT blog Queerty that he saw the characters as gay when he was writing them in the 1980s. Saltzman added that he modeled their traits after his own relationship with his partner, Arnold Glassman.

“That's what I had in my life, a Bert and Ernie relationship,” Saltzman said. “How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert. How could it not?”

In its tweet, Sesame Workshop said that Bert and Ernie were just friends.

“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends,” Sesame Workshop tweeted. “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 posses many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

After the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, The New Yorker released a cover featuring Bert and Ernie cuddling on a couch as they watched television coverage of the decision.