In August 2011, an online petition to let Bert and Ernie get married circulated. It garnered a lot of media attention despite Sesame Street's official statement on the matter, posted on its Facebook page:
Bert and Ernie are best friends. 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 possess many human traits and characteristics . . . they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.
The speculation about the nature of their relationship is nothing new for Bert and Ernie. In 1980, Studio 360 host and author Kurt Andersen wrote: "Bert and Ernie conduct themselves in the same loving, discreet way that millions of gay men, women, and hand puppets do. They do their jobs well and live a splendidly settled life together in an impeccably decorated cabinet."
Photo courtesy of Sesame Street Workshop