Bert, Ernie on New Yorker cover

Bert and Ernie grace the cover of the New Yorker's July 8 and 15 double issue. (Jack Hunter / New Yorker)

Despite years of rumor and speculation, the producers of "Sesame Street" have long said that Bert and Ernie, the Muppet roommates, are not a gay couple. But the New Yorker would beg to differ.

For the cover of the July 8 and 15 double issue, the magazine chose the pair to illustrate the joy over the Supreme Court's finding that a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act violated the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, paving the way for possible widespread legalization of gay marriage.

The cover, titled "Moment of Joy," shows Bert and Ernie cuddling in front of an old-fashioned TV set broadcasting an image of the assembled Supreme Court justices. As Gawker points out, however, the image has been on the Internet for over a year. Artist Jack Hunter originally submitted a version of the cover with Obama on the TV instead of the Justices to a Tumblr page called Blown Covers last summer.

FULL COVERAGE: Same-sex marriage rulings

The New Yorker acknowledged the origin of the drawing in a post on its website, along with a statement from Hunter, saying, "It's amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime.... This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate."

A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop, producers of "Sesame Street," declined to comment on the cover. The question has already been addressed in 2011, however, when a petition asking for Bert and Ernie to get married was answered by a statement from Sesame Workshop saying, "Bert and Ernie are best friends.  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."

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