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The July 8-15 cover of the New Yorker magazine

E is for Ernie, but also for "equality."

The cover for next week's New Yorker, titled "Moment of Joy" depicts Bert and Ernie (of Sesame Street fame) embracing as they watch news of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage.

The artwork, which was unveiled Friday morning, is already causing a stir on social media, with some lauding the cover as an instant classic.

"It's amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime," artist Jack Hunter said of his artwork on the New Yorker's blog. "This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate."

Despite the fact that officially, Sesame Street denies that the pair are gay, their sexuality has long been a subject of intense debate and many consider the two to be gay icons.

The muppets, who are best friends who share a home and a bedroom, sparked rumours three years ago, after a tweet from Bert on the official Sesame Street account described himself using gay slang. In the tweet about how similar his hairstyle is to Mr. T's, Bert wrote "the only difference is mine is a little more 'mo,' a little less 'hawk.'"

In 2002, Sesame Street threatened to sue the director of a documentary spoof that depicted Ernie shooting himself in the head after a lover's quarrel with Bert.