One of the most popular children's series in television history now has a same-sex married couple as recurring characters.
In an episode last week, Sesame Street introduced a married gay couple when two men, Dave and Frank, appeared alongside the spouses and family members of other characters to celebrate what the show called "Family Day."
Big Bird's grandmother, Granny Bird, came into town to celebrate Family Day. Other characters had mothers and fathers, step-parents and step-siblings, and cousins.
Nina – a bicycle store owner on the show – told everyone that her brother was coming to Family Day, too. When they arrived, she introduced them to her friends.
"I want you to meet my brother Dave, his husband Frank, and my sobrina [niece] Mia," Nina said.
Later in the episode, Mia, their daughter, told Elmo and Abby that she helps her "Pappy" and "Daddy" make vegetable lasagna.
The episode ended with Frank telling everyone, "There's all kinds of different families, but what makes us a family is that we love each other."
A Sesame Workshop spokesperson told USA Today that Dave and Frank are the first married same-sex couple who will appear on the show again in the future. Sesame Street is broadcast on HBO Max and PBS, although HBO Max airs news episodes first.
Sesame Street has included gay characters in the past, according to the spokesperson, but they weren't recurring.
"A recent' letter of the day' segment, 'F is for Family,' included a boy with two mothers, and a live-action 'Elmo's World' video in last year's 'Father's Day' episode featured a boy with two fathers and a voiceover narration that said 'You might have a stepdad, or even two dads,'" USA Today reported.
Alan Muraoka, an actor who plays Alan on the show, celebrated the news in a Facebook post.
"I am so honored and humbled to have co-directed this important and milestone episode," Muraoka said. "Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family. Happy Pride to all!!!!"
But the feedback was mixed on the series' Facebook page.
"The attack on masculinity and the nuclear family continues," one person wrote.
Another person wrote, "There is no need for this on a children's show. Shame on you sesame street and anyone thinking children should be indoctrinated with this."
Photo courtesy: ©Sesame Street
Video courtesy: ©Sesame Street
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.