'Buster' busted in Utah for gay theme

Published February 2, 2005 12:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's two PBS television stations will not show a controversial episode of the children's animated program "Postcards from Buster" because it features a lesbian couple.

Managers of KUED Channel 7, operated by the University of Utah, and KBYU Channel 11 at Brigham Young University said Tuesday that children's TV shows should not introduce issues of sexuality.

"Buster" is a bunny who travels the country with his airline pilot father and meets families of different backgrounds, including a Vermont girl whose mother has a lesbian partner.

Stations pulled the episode after Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wrote the national PBS office describing "very serious concerns" she had about the subject matter, according to a USA Today story. National PBS had pulled the episode before receiving the letter, but affiliate stations can get the show directly from WGBH, the Boston station that produces "Buster." At least 24 stations planned to air the episode.

Managers of the Utah stations agreed the episode's content was inappropriate. "This issue . . . needs to be covered," said KUED general manager Larry Smith. "But when it comes to kids programs, we think it's a decision best left up to parents."

But Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Utah, said "children need to learn about differences in order to learn about tolerance . . . We have same-sex couples raising children all across this country, and they deserve respect and dignity."

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