Sesame Street‘s timeless roommates Bert and Ernie have long jokingly been thought of as a closeted gay couple, despite denials from Sesame Workshop. Still, the joke lent itself to a poignant cover for this month’s New Yorker toasting the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of marriage equality. One individual, the American Family Association’s mouthpiece Bryan Fischer, did not take too kindly to the cover.
In a post on AFA’s website today, Fischer accused the “tony, elitist” magazine for “promoting child endangerment” with the image:
The tony, elitist New Yorker magazine, read by those who fancy themselves our moral and intellectual superiors, is in effect promoting child endangerment on the cover of its latest issue, and shamelessly using Bert and Ernie to do it. [...]
This is shameless, using figures who are iconic to children to promote sexual deviancy. And worse, it is dangerous and irresponsible. [...]
By promoting same-sex marriage, and using Sesame Street to do it, the New Yorker staff in effect is promoting child abuse. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Fischer’s entire argument is based on Mark Regnerus’ thoroughly debunked family structures study, which claimed to find negative outcomes for the children of same-sex couples. He even preempted detractors by pointing out that the University of Texas’s research integrity officer dismissed allegations against Regnerus about improper research techniques. Of course, the problem with the Regnerus study has never been what research was collected or how, but what conclusions were derived from it. Only two — two — of the individuals in the large study were actually raised in a committed intact same-sex family. Thus, all of the conclusions it tries to draw about same-sex parenting are actually based on children who grew up in broken homes and whose parents may have had a same-sex relationship at some point. It has nothing to say about married same-sex couples working together to raise a loving family; all the studies that do only have positive outcomes to report.
Fischer conveniently ignores this reality, eager to refresh the unfounded stigma of the past that there is a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. He makes no consideration for the tens of thousands of children already being raised by same-sex parents who probably quite enjoy watching Sesame Street with their families.