• A church in Alabama will hold a screening of Mr. Ratburn's wedding. (Getty Images, PBS)
The church will hold a screening of the banned 'Arthur and Friends' episode.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

4 Jun 2019 - 1:27 PM  UPDATED 4 Jun 2019 - 1:27 PM

A church in Alabama is flying in the face of State lawmakers, hosting a public screening of the banned episode of PBS cartoon Arthur and Friends which depicts a same-sex marriage.

First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, which describes itself as “an open place for all,” is playing host to the screening alongside the local Shout LGBTQ Film Festival, defying the Alabama Public Television (APT)’s controversial decision to ban the episode, titled Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone, from broadcast.

“It would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode,” the director of programming at APT, Mike McKenzie, told NBC News.

“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire."

Rachel Morgan, creative director of the Shout Film Festival, told AL.com that the episode was important to those who are underrepresented in TV and film.

“Weddings take places at churches all the time. So First Church seems like a perfect venue for the cartoon in my opinion," she said.

"(The church) frequently communicates to the community that they are an ‘open place for all,’ and I think this event reflects that statement.”

Wedding cake and refreshments will reportedly be served at the screening.

The creator of Arthur and Friends, Marc Brown, has previously stood up for the episode.

“I’m really proud of that episode. And I will defend it to anybody who wants to talk about it,” Brown said in relation to controversy.

“Why shouldn’t their teacher marry another man? We all know people who are gay, who are trans, and it’s something that is socially acceptable. Why is there this discomfort that it takes a leap into our national media?” 

He continued: “I don’t want children or people who are different to feel excluded. That’s not the kind of world we want to live in. And we want children to be educated so they can see there’s not just one type of family.

"Everyone should feel represented. I think we did that with Arthur.”

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