Rat Rage The biggest LGBT story of this cycle had to be the marriage of Mr. Ratburn to another “man” on the animated PBS show Arthur. Launched in 1996, Arthur is the longest-running kid’s cartoon on TV, and Mr. Ratburn, a rat, is the longtime schoolteacher. The wedding was a lovely affair, good times had by all, and, yes, an important moment in the annals of children’s television. But then came the inevitable “response” from the religious Right, which used an outfit called One Million Moms to issue a fairly standard statement of outrage, which was picked up by those media outlets that get outraged by this kind of thing. The strategy of putting forward a group called One Million Moms probably made sense, but let there be no mistake: this is a front group for the American Family Association, which is officially listed as a hate group. For the record, the AFA puts out a magazine with 182,000 paid subscribers, so already the numbers are never going to add up. But even if there were a million moms opposed to the Arthur marriage, there are around 25 million mothers with school-aged children in the U.S., which leaves 24 million who are okay with Mr. Ratburn’s marital status.
Never Can Say Goodbye We hinted in last issue’s BTW that this would be our last waltz with former U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock (R–Illinois). So we lied! Aaron is back in the news, and in a way that shows how much he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Looking as buff as ever, there he is posing with his buddies at some big event. Or is he? After the publicity photo for the Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival (in Indio, CA) had been widely posted on-line, two of the men pictured came forward to disavow any association with the fallen Congressman. One of them explained that Schock was “someone we just met” who wanted “to include himself in the photo,” so they let him in to be polite. But once they learned who it was, they were horrified and posted a lengthy apologia (in part): “Rob and I have been out since we were fourteen and fifteen, respectively, and living as proud gay men in a loving relationship. We are entirely against Aaron Schock’s values, views and actions.” And it’s true: Schock is still officially straight and has never repudiated his anti-gay record in the House. He may have beaten that legal rap (see past BTW’s), but his social standing took a big hit, so now he’s reduced to photo-bombing group shots of hot guys who are total strangers at rock music festivals. Next!