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The New Yorker’s Gay Marriage Cover: Bert and Ernie

The New Yorker unveiled its cover issue commemorating the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage: an illustration of Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street,” cuddling in front of a TV set, watching an image of the nine justices.

The cover illustration was by Jack Hunter, who submitted his image unsolicited to a Tumblr before it was picked up by the New Yorker. “It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” he told the magazine. “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.” The cover is titled “Bert and Ernie’s Moment of Joy.”

Sesame Workshop, which has control over the characters, has in the past issued denials that the characters have a sexual orientation.

“Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the workshop said in a statement issued in 2011, after rumors that Bert was about to come out of the closet. “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 (as most ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

The magazine may be on solid legal footing given court decisions protecting parody that is a comment on a copyrighted work.

A spokeswoman for Sesame Workshop did not immediately return a request for comment.

Update: Gawker reports that the artwork was originally submitted to Tumblr in May, 2012, shortly after President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.

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