Marc Brown, the creator of long-running kids TV series Arthur, has said he’s “disappointed” by a conservative backlash against the show’s recent same-sex wedding.
Mr Ratburn, Arthur’s teacher, married his male partner Patrick in the show’s recent season premiere episode.
Many celebrated at the time, but Alabama Public Television (APT) refused to air it, deeming the wedding as somehow unsuitable for young viewers.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” APT programming director said.
But Marc Brown told PEOPLE he was “really proud” of the episode.
“And I will defend it to anybody who wants to talk about it,” the 72-year-old author said.
“Why shouldn’t their teacher marry another man? We all know people who are gay, who are trans, and it’s something that is socially acceptable.
“Why is there this discomfort that it takes a leap into our national media?
“I don’t want children or people who are different to feel excluded. That’s not the kind of world we want to live in.
“And we want children to be educated so they can see there’s not just one type of family.
“Everyone should feel represented. I think we did that with Arthur.”
Conservative group calls Arthur same-sex wedding ‘immoral’
Ultra-conservative US group One Million Moms called for US public broadcaster PBS to cancel the series.
The group said same-sex marriage was “a controversial topic” and accused PBS of “pushing an agenda”.
“PBS Kids should not introduce this to young children. Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct,” the group said.
PBS said the episode was necessary to accurately reflect diverse communities.
“PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation,” the broadcaster said.
“We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day.”