Patrick (left) and Mr. Ratburn at their wedding — Photo: PBS Kids
A congressional Republican wants to remove funding for PBS and NPR after children’s cartoon Arthur aired an episode with a same-sex wedding.
The animated show opened its 22nd season by having main character Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn. marry his boyfriend.
While the episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” was widely praised, it sparked outrage among some conservatives for daring to show two men marrying — despite the fact that it has been legal nationwide since 2016.
Alabama Public Television even refused to broadcast the episode, claiming that showing children two gay men marrying would be “a violation of trust.”
But Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) wants to go even further and permanently defund PBS and NPR, claiming that the Arthur episode is “offensive to many conservatives and religious taxpayers.”
He also says that by continuing to fund PBS, the federal government was “[violating] the conscience rights of many conservative and religious Americans.”
“The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and NPR have shown increasing bias in sensitive political and social issues,” Lamborn claims on his congressional website. “A recent example comes from PBS, who recently aired an episode of the children’s cartoon Arthur. In this episode, the creator endorsed same-sex marriage, which is offensive to many conservatives and religious taxpayers. The show was so controversial that the state of Alabama barred the episode from Alabama Public Television.
“Enough is enough,” he continues. “Recent programming on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has offended many conservative and religious taxpayers who do not want the children inculcated with liberal viewpoints on sensitive topics.”
Lamborn has introduced two bills to Congress that would eliminate federal funds for PBS and NPR, arguing that funding both is “unconstitutional.”
However, Lamborn attempts to justify his bills by noting that the national debt is “over $22 trillion.”
He then states that his bills would cut at least $445 million from the federal budget — which LGBTQ Nation noted is a mere 0.00002% of the national debt.
The Republican’s bill to defund PBS is also supported by the Family Research Council, a designated hate group with a history of opposing LGBTQ rights and equality.
The group’s president, Tony Perkins, recently accused the Trump administration of “cultural imperialism” for a plan to decriminalize homosexuality globally.
In addition, he has used his position at FRC — considered an “Extremist Group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-LGBTQ ideology — to promote laws restricting LGBTQ adoption, oppose the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and advocate for Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” law that doles out punishments for homosexuality.
Lamborn’s PBS bill is also endorsed by Franklin Graham, an anti-LGBTQ evangelical with ties to Donald Trump.
Earlier this year, Graham accused Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg of “flaunting” his sexuality, and said that Buttigieg should repent for being gay — comments that even anti-LGBTQ former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum criticized, noting that Graham has been silent about Trump’s accused infidelity.
“If he’s gonna say that about Pete Buttigieg, then he needs to when Donald Trump’s accusations come up about marital infidelity and other things that is equally as sinful,” Santorum said. “He should be equal and vociferous in calling out a similar sin.”