Alabama Public Television has said that
it won't air an episode of the PBS Kids children's animated show
Arthur that features a same-sex marriage.
The show, based on the Arthur
Adventure book series, revolves around 8-year-old Arthur Read, an
aardvark, his family and friends.
In the 22nd season premiere
of the series, Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn marries Patrick, who owns
the local chocolate shop. Arthur and his friends crash the wedding
because they assume their teacher is marrying a woman named Patty
(played by Jane Lynch), whom they do not like. It turns out Patrick
is Patty's brother.
The episode, titled “Mr. Ratburn and
the Special Someone,” aired on May 13. But not on Alabama Public
Television, which serves most of Alabama. Its broadcast signals from
nine stations also reach parts of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and
Alabama Public Television programming
director Mike McKenzie said that many parents disagree with the
episode's storyline “either because their children are too young,
or because of their beliefs.”
“Our broadcast would take away the
choice of parents who feel it is inappropriate,” he said.
LGBT rights advocate GLAAD criticized
the station's decision.
“TV worlds often reflect our actual
world and today that includes LGBTQ parents and families,” GLAAD
President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told CNN. “LGBTQ parents and
their children deserve to see themselves reflected in media and if
leadership of this public broadcasting station cannot serve the
interests of the entire public, it's time to find someone who can.”
Graham, One Million Moms, Tony Perkins criticize gay wedding on PBS'