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Alabama church to throw wedding party for banned Arthur episode

Alabama church to throw wedding party for banned Arthur episode

Arthur's Mr Ratburn and his new husband (Photo: PBS)

A Methodist church in Alabama is screening an episode of the PBS children’s show Arthur that drew headlines for featuring a same-sex wedding.

Next week (15 June) First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, will throw a free ‘wedding party’ to coincide with the screening of the episode which Alabama Public Television refused to air.

‘Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone’ aired on 13 May, but APT opted to air a re-run instead.

What’s happening?

With wedding cake and sparkling apple juice on the menu, church organizers, Sidewalk Film Festival, and Shout LGBTQ Film Festival are hosting the screening.

At 10am, church doors on 518 19th Street N in downtown Alabama will open. Two other ‘surprise cartoon episodes’ will follow the screening as its FaceBook event page details.

Moreover, nearly 100 people from the state are set to hit the event, and nearly 500 have listed that they are ‘interested.’

‘Open to all’

Sidewalk Film Festivals creative director, Rachel Morgan, told Gay Star News that they decided to team up with the church after APT refused to air the episode. As a result, they wanted to give everyone in the Birmingham, Alabama, area a chance to watch it.
When reaching out to the church, it was their ‘open to all’ reputation that first drew in festival organisers to partner with them. Reconciling neatly with their work in providing: ‘A platform for content that reflects individuals that are typically underrepresented in film/media.’
‘We hope that the screening reflects the fact that there are many people in Alabama who disagree with censorship and believe that all lives are worthy of representation,’ she said.
‘We also hope, of course, that folks of all ages have a great time at the upcoming screening and celebration of diversity.’

Why is it a big deal in Alabama?

In the ‘groundbreaking’ episode, Mr. Ratburn, Arthur’s teacher, marries his male partner, Patrick, an aardvark chocolatier.

Following the broadcast, people both praised and lambasted the show for its warm-hearted and innocent representation. Unsurprisingly, many conservative commentators railed against the series, calling it a ‘culture war’ among other things.

However, Alabama so far is the only known state not to air the episode.

Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT, said PBS sent out a statement to broadcasters before the episode aired. APT decided to air a re-run of the series instead.

See also

Mr Ratburn from hit kids TV show Arthur is going to marry his boyfriend

Arthur creator Marc Brown defends same-sex marriage episode

Conservatives are outraged that Mr Ratburn from kids’ show Arthur is gay