Homer Simpson becomes an ordained minister in order to marry same-sex couples in The Simpsons. Photo: Matt Groening/FOX
Spongebob SquarePants may not be gay, but at least one cartoon character is. Patty Bouvier, Marge Simpson’s sister, came out of the closet in The Simpsons episode shown in the US on Sunday.
Patty said she was gay after the town of Springfield decided to legalise same-sex marriage to boost tourism. The town even had a theme song, sung to the tune of the Banana Boat Song, “Gay-o, it’s OK-o, Tie the knot and spend all your dough.”
Patty’s announcement shocked Marge, but not Homer. “Yeah, big surprise,” he said. “Hey, Marge, here’s another bomb: I like beer!”
Homer subsequently became an ordained minister so he could marry gay people.
Same-sex marriage is a hot issue in the US. President George Bush opposes it, but many local councils tried last year to legalise it. Hundreds of gays, including comedian Rosie O’Donnell, were married in California before the Supreme Court put a stop to it.
Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, There’s Something About Marrying, was heavily promoted and bookmakers had been taking odds on which character was gay.
The executive producer of The Simpsons, Al Jean, said the show was not endorsing same-sex marriage. But Roberta Knight of Concerned Women for America said television was becoming obsessed with homosexuality. “In fact, I wouldn’t put it past people to dig up re-runs of Happy Days and have the Fonz come out as gay,” she said.
The Simpsons, now in its 16th season, is broadcast continuously on the Fox network in the US. Channel 10 has begun screening episodes from the 16th season.
– with New York Times