(CNSNews.com) - A homosexual advocacy group is condemning the Public Broadcasting Service for its decision not to air an episode of a children's television show because it includes lesbian mothers.
Earlier in the week, PBS President Pat Mitchell and other network officials said the "Postcards From Buster" episode, titled "Sugarland," was appropriate, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) claims. Then Education Secretary Margaret Spellings denounced the program, reportedly saying parents wouldn't want children exposed to a homosexual lifestyle.
"It's unfortunate that PBS would cave into homophobic pressure from Secretary Spellings and the Department of Education. Sadly we have come to expect this kind of coercion from cabinet level departments in this administration," said GLMA President Dr. Tri Do in a press release.
"Many thousands of families in this country are headed by same sex couples. I assume that Secretary Spellings would react much differently if viewers complained that they didn't want to be exposed to, say, Muslim or Hmong families. She would, I hope, condemn such attitudes for the bigotry they clearly represent," Do said.
"Postcards From Buster" features an animated rabbit named Buster Baxter, who until now was known primarily as a close friend of Arthur, an animated aardvark and star of "Arthur," the highest-rated children's show on PBS.
"Postcards From Buster" combines animation with live action. It shows Buster traveling to different states with his father then sending video postcards home showing real children and how they live in live-action segments. The show is targeted at a young school age audience.
Buster's guests and friends include single-parent families, Mormons in Utah, a family of five living in a trailer in Virginia, all sharing one room, as well as American Indians and Hmong, and fundamentalist Christians and Muslims, GLMA said.
Dr. Ken Haller, a pediatrician in St. Louis, Mo., and former president of GLMA, pointed to a 2002 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement that showed kids in same-sex parent households "do as well on all measures of health as children raised in opposite sex parent households."
Haller added that the American Academy of Pediatrics "urged pediatricians to 'advocate for initiatives that establish permanency through coparent or second-parent adoption for children of same-sex partners through the judicial system, legislation, and community education.'"
"To stigmatize these parents -- and their children -- as somehow undesirable or unsavory hurts children and families headed by same sex couples," Haller said.
"This is another attempt by this administration to render gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons invisible. We call on our members to contact their local PBS stations to urge them to run the 'Sugarland!' episode of 'Postcards from Buster,'" said Joel Ginsberg, executive director of GLMA.
"We also call on officials at PBS to meet with us to discuss why LGBT persons fit into their stated mission of diversity for audiences of all ages," added Ginsberg.
See Earlier Story:
('Bunny Flap: PBS Yanks Cartoon Featuring Lesbian Couples,' Jan. 27, 2005)
('Homosexual Adoption Controversy Divides US Pediatricians,' Oct. 24, 2002)
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