Alabama’s public television network has banned an episode of the PBS cartoon series Arthur that features a same-sex marriage.
The episode, entitled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” shows the wedding of Arthur’s third-grade teacher Mr. Ratburn – a cartoon rat – to his partner, a chocolatier named Patrick.
It aired nationwide on May 13 as the series 22nd season premiere, prompting widespread online praise from supporters of LGBTQ rights.
But Alabama Public Television (APT) decided to show a re-run instead, after being notified about the episode by PBS, local news site AL.com reports.
“[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,” Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT said in a statement to AL. “We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.”
APT has no plans to show the episode in future, Mckenzie added.
Alabama is one of the most conservative states in the U.S., 44% of people identifying as conservative – second only to Mississippi –, according to a 2018 Gallup poll.
This is not the first time APT has banned a cartoon featuring LGBTQ characters. In 2005 the network pulled an episode of the Arthur spinoff Postcards From Buster which included a lesbian couple.
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