EA Stands Up For Same Sex Marriage Despite Outrage From Anti-Gay Community

EA is standing their ground after being inundated with letters from anti-gay groups for the inclusion of same sex or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) content in their games, most notably in titles like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

EA confirmed with GamesIndustry.biz that they had in fact received "several thousand" letters and emails that accused the publisher and its developers of trying to "force" LGBT content upon children and that the developers only included such content due to pressure from the LGBT community.

The Vice President of corporate communications at EA, Jeff Brown debunked these claims.

"Every one of EA's games includes ESRB content descriptors so it's hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment," he said.

"EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games."

Brown went on to say that EA has met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players online, but the choice to include LGBT relationships in their games was their own choice. EA was also accused of deleting posts on their official forum that spoke against the LGBT community, but Brown said they do not tolerate hate speech on their forums.

EA has said it will not be censoring its games or giving into the demands of anti-gay communities.



    I have a good idea that most of those emails would have been from US based people...

      And they'd no doubt be the same template, easily accessible from family group websites.

        Wow EA classic Misdirection. Good move

      You're forgetting the Australian Christian Lobby and all the good they've done in the name of "protecting the children".

    I guess every evil empire has a skerrick of humanity within it.

      True that

    The stupid....it hurts.

    What's the bet that the pressure is mostly from the bible belt?

      The Vatican?

    "force LGBT content upon children" THE GAME IS NOT AIMED AT CHILDREN, so whether it's straight, gay, alien sex it was never aimed at them anyway!!!!!

    I am so sick of "children" being used as an excuse to ban everything. Let's just ban children.

      Can we just ban any business and/or group that uses "Family" in their name unless they're divorce lawyers or adoption agencies? That would knock out the majority of the culprits.

      Exactly. These games are aimed at adults. That they think they're for children goes to show how poorly informed they are.

      Hold on! How is the game forcing it? Does the game automatically install itself and make itself the only application and somehow glues a kids eyes to the screen?

      There is only one way a kid can be exposed to this, the parent allows it happen.

      Several good points here!

    I'm not against any LGBT content in games, but the stuff in the ME series does feel out of place. Especially the gay relationship Broshep can have in ME3 - He was straight for two games and then decide to be bi-curious? Meanwhile Reapers are destroying Earth....it just seems thrown in for the sake of it. I know ME is all about player choice, but they don't give you the choice to make Shep a Buddhist mailman and settle down to have kids. Why not? Because it doesn't fit with the story, or the character and neither does the gay relationship.

    Now, make a story driven game about a gay person and perhaps their struggles in a homophobic society and you've actually got something. You've got a reason to introduce it. ME has no reason for it other than to appeal to a larger audience and make more $$$.

      Not including the (male) homosexual option in the first two games was a bit of a mistake, but you didn't have to sleep with anyone. Shepard could have been gay for the first two games and simply not had anyone to hook up with until the third game. It's your story, your choice and this was simply giving players another option that was previously lacking.

      Your Shepard might have not been gay. That doesn't mean that someone else's wasn't.

      There doesn't have to be a reason why there is the option to be homosexual, it doesn't have to be the focus of the story. It really can just be an incidental thing to pursue, like any heterosexual relationship in the game.

        Yeah, you're right, it could be that way. But I still stand by the idea that EA/Bioware introduced the option to get more players and dollars, which just doesn't do the content justice.
        I guess what I'm saying is if a game is going to do LGBT content, do it right. Make it a purposeful inclusion or even a focus, not just a "every game now has to have an LGBT option".

          They had a lesbian option from the start. You know, the L in LGBT.

          The relationship side of Mass Effect has always been incidental. You can pursue a relationship with certain characters, should you choose to. Adding a male homosexual option isn't a money grab, it isn't something done to get more players, it's simply including an option that was previously missing.

          They sure as hell didn't use "ManShep can now get his freak on with dudes!" as a selling point.

          And being gay doesn't have to be the focus of a character. There are more than a few fictional characters where their sexuality is purely incidental. Take Dumbledore in Harry Potter, his sexuality wasn't relevant to the story so it never came up. Same goes in reality, you don't have heterosexual people walking around saying "did you know that I'm heterosexual?" and making a big deal of it, so why should we expect that as homosexual people?

          It might be part of who they are, but quite often it's not relevant. When you're busy saving the galaxy from impending doom, the focus should not be on sexuality.

            Anyway, it's the future, everyone's bisexual.

        Similar to Cloud's date with Barrett. Something that, when I came across it didn't seem out of context at all.
        As with sexuality in general, I view it all as "options". I can sleep with another man should I choose to, likewise with a woman, or trans. Just because I don't, doesn't mean I should scorn those that do.

      You have to crawl before you can walk.
      At least Bioware are doing something and giving players the option of making their in-game avatar as close to their real-life persona as possible.
      Little steps then big ones. A game about the struggles of a character within a homophobic society sounds like something an independent developer might tackle but may be a bit too confronting for a AAA title. They're still learning about tasteful depictions of sex.

        True, good point.

      It fits for me. My Broshep has not romanced nor slept with a soul for the first two games. I never got hit on either, and I just acted as if the relationships didn't exist. My Broshep's been gay since day one - and he's been holding out for Kaiden :) Which means that EA isn't appealing to a larger audience - if you do indeed mean 'the gays' - we've been there from the start.

      Also, as a gay dude, I find the "make a story driven game about a gay person and perhaps their struggles in a homophobic society and you’ve actually got something" comment kinda offensive. I've not really struggled with any of it throughout my life - like at all. It's never been an issue with friends, family, workmates or anyone else. Not that I should be grateful that people 'tolerate me' - I just take it as a given - which is the way it should be.

    So EA did something that can be considered, human?

      I think it's less about being human and more about realising that the vocal groups here have no interest in video games, no serious influence on the game buying public and are an extremely small part of society in general. They get more angry letters this way but they see more actual backlash when they cave in to this stuff and they know it.
      They deserve some kudos for standing their ground on this one, but the more important thing to realise is that the 'anti-gay community' is drawing closer and closer to the insane fringe groups that are at worst politely ignored like the KKK.

    Is this still going on? Its not like EA FORCE you to have a same sex relationship in the game. It is entirely your choice, just like no one forces you to view a movie with similar themes, its all there in the classification, its your choice to expose yourself to it, so there for its your own fault if you are offended.

    You wouldn't go into a strip club, and then complain about the nudity. Its That bleeding obvious.

      Its like on up at noon. In relation to the gay content, people are getting angry at a choice you have to make. Its like kissing another guy at a party and then fetting angry at the universe

    I was very happy to see strong and intelligent gay characters in ME3. These characters were true homosexual characters whose sexual preference would not be changed by a conversation tree.
    The only people who have a problem with this are ignorant bigots who govern their lives by Bronze Age mythology. People need to make themselves aware how much influence and political power the religious right can wield through these type of lobbing groups. I urge all to check out this story about Tennessee’s new laws protecting people who bully homosexuals if it is based on religious grounds. http://richarddawkins.net/articles/645485-tennessee-goes-monkey-again

    Just read the Game Industry.biz article, and reading an example letter they have, the common misconception that games are for kids and only played by kids is at play here. Until they drop the misconception, their is absolutely no reason to even bother listening to them.

    It's good to see that, so far, this comment chain has just been sensible people - how refreshing :)


      Don't tempt fate.

      Every time I see a story of this type & note the fairly sane comments, I'm tempted to load the american kotaku and see what the comments there are like. I've never quite had the courage...

    I say this at the risk that the universe might explode; Good on you EA, doing something human for once!

    Go bioware, my straight man shep approves of any choices. The LGBT community deserve a choice, perhaps add an option for 'not until we are married'

    bigots, gonna bigot.

    What I'm disappointed in is the lack of Geth romance options.Where's my representation as a Technosexual?

    Although, I kind of have the tiniest amount of agreement that EA might have over-reacted to the criticisms of ME2 and ME1 relationship options when they put same-sex relationships in 3. I play a FemShep and so far pretty much every female aboard the ship (Including NPCs) has had an option in their dialogue wheels to have a steamy night of passion. I wasn't even trying for it.

      Yeah, I was amused when - just trying to be an open and friendly CO - I almost accidentally slept with a crew member.

    Good timing this was published after EA being declared the worst company in America...

    Im not against gays. But every time you talked to the gay ship member in mass effect 3 it felt like they were forcing you to romance him.

      No it didn't.

      There is a difference between romance and being nice to another man. Kinda funny and sad how some people can't tell the difference

      Everytime someone begins a sentence with "I'm not against so and so" we should all prepare ourselves for something horribly offensive.

      Anyways not really. Cortez was no Anders at all. He never hit on you and if you talked to him, you were just being a good friend to him, unless YOU made a move on him. Unlike Anders who if you said anything remotely nice to him, it meant that you were hitting on him somehow .

        To be fair, in Ander's case i found it kind of helped the character. He was a pretty messed up individual, what with that demon sitting in his skull. It's a common trope for comflicted characters to crave emotional and/or physical relationships. It probably helps that in setting, NO ONE is nice to mages. Not even otehr mages, so Hawk just being civil would seem to be a big thing.

        Of course, nothing could stop me from showing him the door after that stunt he pulled at the end. Ugh. Should have joined up with the Templars!

      If you're seeing an opportunity for gay romance where one doesn't exists, then I think that says more about you than anything. He who smelt it, dealt it. :P

        I honestly wonder if Cortez didn’t specifically state that he was gay at the start, that anyone would be thinking he was hitting on them for the rest of the game?

          I didn't think Cortez was hitting on me; I thought Shepard was trying to pick up a guy still mourning over his deceased husband.

          Still, I stuck with it, because Cortez was one of the nicest people on the ship.

    Anti-gay community = Idiot Community.

    """trying to “force” LGBT content upon children"""

    Hmm one sec ***Check's Mass Effect 3's rating***
    Rated MA 15+, not suitable for persons under the age of 15.

    Lets also not forget that players can choose either a straight or gay relationship in the game, based on their real life sexual preference which is not a choice in real life. No one is trying to force anything on anyone

    "trying to “force” LGBT content upon children"
    Well I will say that you can end up on the fast track to a gay relationship just by being continually as nice as possible with certain characters and the whole process is kind of hamfisted. Kind of annoying when you're playing a paragon whose got eyes on someone else and you're trying to be nice to these people but not sure where the game draws the line between nice and starting a relationship when you dont intend to.

    getting sick with these gay and anti-gay agenda cumming to my games
    could both sides GTFO and leave games off their sexual agendas ?
    just stick with a goddamn movie or tv series

    for those who defend the anti-gay stance
    you people do realize that asari is an all female civilization?, hence they mate could be both male and female, why you snots cry foul now? not when the first mass effect came into the light?

    for those who defend the pro-gay stance
    stop playing the victim card and look at the reality of the world right now, homosexuality is becoming mainstream now, what more do you want?


      What more do you want?

      Oh y'know, the right to marry legally, the right to not have people yelling "FAGGOOTT!!" out of car windows at the when they're walking down the street, the right to walk down the street without being bashed, the right t exist in places like Uganda without being executed.
      But I guess that's just playing the victim, isn't it?

        Don't forget people condensing your entire sexual identity into a synonym for 'stupid'. Or the way politicians use your basic human rights as a scapeegoat/scaremongering issue to get more votes.

          The black people of america and some other races experienced the same, and they do something about it and speak up, what have you done to protect your own rights?

          FYI, if you're a gamer, being called a girl is also falls into the same line

          My point still the same GTFO of games and making a game into such drama for anyone political agenda, be as it may pro or contra

            So speaking up in games isn't speaking up? What you describe is normalisation of the previously unusual (eg: women or black people being allowed to say no to white men), what BETTER way is there to normalise sexual differences than to expose people to it through whatever is the current popular medium is and show that differences are nothing to be scared of or creeped out by?

            As an aside, I'm not actually gay, just supportive.

          jup. All this. +++ both mosh and aliasalpha

        Legally same-sex marriage already exist in some countries, shouting something derogatory is considered breaking the law nowdays, unless you actually live in uganda, what are complaining about?

        Anything else mate?

          It doesn't exist in australia, seeing this is an australian website we figured you'd y'know, know that same sex marriage isn't legal here yet.

            Not "yet", thats the operative word, inter-racial marriage back then is considered breaking the law as well.

          The fact that same sex marriage exists in some countries doesn't really help if one doesn't happen to live in said countries.

          Applying a general culture of abuse & violation of human rights to social minorities is still pretty fucked up, especially when the reasons boil down to either 'Eew ick!' or factually bereft religious bigotry (which ultimately boils down to 'Eew ick!' anyway). Pick your favourite hobby or a particular idiosyncrasy about yourself (eye colour, height, body hair etc) and then copy/paste that into an anti-gay bigoted screed & see how bad and most of all how STUPID it feels for such hatred to be applied to something so harmless & irrelevant.

            I've worked in an office located at oxford st in sydney, and im a practising catholic, guess what? I've been called names as well by the gays in the office, does it changed my perception towards gay? No.

            If i hate someone, its because i hate their guts, not based on colour or race nor sexual preferences.

            Getting sidetrack btw, my point still stands, why on earth for the sake of political correctness every game have to pleases a certain group?

            When the last time a game simply a game without any loaded political agenda bullsh1t?

              Aaaww, you're breaking my heart.

              Games have pleased a "certain group" for a long time, that's straight white males(who actually are a minority)....you're just butthurt that the rest of the world want to play games and be represented in them. Grow a pair and get over it.

              Why do you assume it has anything to do with political correctness rather than, for example, depicting people as they actually are? As a game that centres itself around people, you'd expect it to realistically feature various examples of different people, just for variety or else it'd get boring fast iof your only conversation options were a white straight cis-men or white straight cis-women who exist as quest driven sex objects.

              I mean sure if there was a big deal made out of the fact that gay people exist in the mass effect universe with each such encounter featuring big amounts of attention singling out the fact that a character was gay then you could describe it as inelegant pandering but political correctness?? Is it politically correct for a game to have colour, sound effects or gravity? Won't someone PLEASE think of the deaf, colourblind, hovering people?!?!

          Yeah, I got something else, "mate".
          Heckling people on the street ISN'T breaking the law, even gay bashers usually get let-off, (in fact I've witnessed gay people being bashed in front of police officers who did NOTHING to help, I as a skinny chick had to jump in and break it up, and then I was the one who got told to lay off by the cops!)
          And it's not just Uganda, it's a LOT of places, plus a generally shitty attitude (mainly from people like you) here in Australia.

    That they even need to defend optional content against thousands of complaints is frustrating.

    But great to hear EA is continuing.

    EA doing something thats actually good... Nice to see for once.

    The best part is that said support wasn't just an unlock for content already on the disc

      Hah! Burn.

    Good Job EA.

    Apparently, including a COMPLETELY OPTIONAL romance with a member of the same sex in a game targeted towards mature gamers is equivalent to FORCING CHILDREN to watch gay porn.


    Seriously, if you don't like the dude on dude, don't have your man-Shep screw the dude! Problem solved!

      Yes but these boys who have invested their identity in some specific notion of hetero masculinity are fragile creatures, and easily broken even at the very mention of same-sex relationships. One must handle them with velvet-coated kid gloves, lest their delicate souls shatter like crystal chandeliers. :p

        Indeed, although I was talking about the religionists rather than the macho-fanboy types (there's some overlap, I concede).

        Still, it is curious that they react so virulently to simply a MENTION of a same-sex relationship. I mean, Mass Effect is FULL of the ability to make choices, some of which are morally controversial. I don't see the religionists complaining about the fact that this game gives you the choice to destroy various sentient species entirely, or the choices to lie and deceive and intimidate and coerce.

        Video games have always given people the option of doing things that most religions regard as immoral. Yet for some reason, "engage in a consensual romantic relationship with someone of the same sex" causes the most backlash.

        A rather distorted sense of proportion, no?

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