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When the PBS Kids’ show Arthur aired an episode in which beloved teacher Mr. Ratburn married his boyfriend, it provided kids everywhere with an unexpected, positive representation of same-sex marriage in a show made just for them.
But when a headline pointing out that Alabama wouldn’t be airing that “gay rat wedding” popped up, fodder for a new meme was born.
gay rat wedding pic.twitter.com/oziocpygFb— sarah schauer 🦂 (@SJSchauer) May 21, 2019
The headline in question was soon exchanged for the less entertaining “Alabama Public Television refused to air an episode of Arthur featuring same-sex marriage,” but “gay rat wedding” had already caught on and spread across Twitter.
always the gay rat bridesmaid never the gay rat bride— dirt prince (@pant_leg) May 23, 2019
rare footage of the gay rat wedding pic.twitter.com/LajzmwpDoF— caoily (@caoily) May 23, 2019
gay rat wedding pic.twitter.com/6lwCLpbBQe— Animated Text (@animatedtext) May 21, 2019
I wanna start a ska punk band called Gay Rat Wedding pic.twitter.com/DI9NszcYHZ— Cripp Daddy ♿™ (@RealYungCripp) May 21, 2019
It wasn’t long before the phrase “gay rat wedding” found its way into mashups with other pop culture moments.
didn’t see stuart little in the crowd at the gay rat wedding guess he’s homophobic— rob (@ghoulcabin) May 23, 2019
My Big Fat Gay Rat Wedding.— a social media account on the world wide web (@LoganLofgren) May 22, 2019
And seeing as how the people over at Alabama Public Television are clearly suffering from some sort of gay panic, it only made sense that even Panic! at the Disco lyrics would be co-opted for the cause.
I chimed in haven’t you people ever heard of— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) May 23, 2019
wedding a god damn rat? No
What a beautiful wedding— pooldad (@pooldad) May 21, 2019
What a beautiful wedding, says a bridesmaid to a waiter
And, yes, but what a shame
What a shame the gay rats’ groom is a whore
Some Twitter users even went so far as to find their own ways to justify Alabama’s censoring of the gay rat wedding.
gay rat honeymoon pic.twitter.com/uo9R4g2Lf4— helen (@helen) May 23, 2019
sorry im so sweaty i was watching a gay rat wedding— gary from teen mom (@garyfromteenmom) May 24, 2019
"congrats" is short for "consummated gay rat wedding"— gay rat rad (@angharadyeo) May 24, 2019
this is why alabama didn’t want to air the gay rat wedding pic.twitter.com/rUyjxxpLRF— dommy mommy (@ariellesarai) May 24, 2019
But with every great meme comes at least one drawback.
just realized people are going to dress as gay wedding rats for pride— David Mack (@davidmackau) May 21, 2019
Just kidding — bring on all the gay rat wedding costumes! If Alabama thought a cartoon same-sex marriage between animals would be too hard for parents to explain to their kids, they’re going to really have a hard time explaining why a bunch of grown adults are parading down the street dressed as gay rats.
And yes, we do know one of the grooms is actually likely an aardvark, but why would anyone ever pass up the opportunity to say “gay rat wedding” as often as possible?
Rachel Kiley is a writer who sometimes writes things and sometimes is based in L.A., but is definitely always on Twitter @rachelkiley.