NEW YORK – The question of whether "Sesame Street" puppets Bert and Ernie might get married - as thousands of online petitioners have urged - was answered with a definite no Thursday when their creators said they were just "best friends" who "do not have a sexual orientation."
More than 5,700 people have signed an online petition at Change.org urging the striped-shirt-wearing puppets, who sleep in the same room and whose sexuality has long been debated, be allowed to wed.
"We are not asking that 'Sesame Street' do anything crude or disrespectful," the petition reads. "It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different."
But the non-profit Sesame Workshop said on its Facebook page Thursday there's no wedding cake in the offing.
"Bert and Ernie are best friends," the Workshop statement said. "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."