You can play as an orc or dark elf in loads of massively multiplayer online games. But you can’t marry someone of the same gender in most of them. That's not the case in Nexon's Mabinogi.
The marriage guide for the cartoony role-playing game explicitly states that “a wedding can take place between two players of the opposite or the same genders.” That option came to the Korean-developed game in October 2012 and it’s proven to be a meaningful addition for the game’s players. Look at these stats from Nexon:
- 30 per cent of same sex weddings have taken place between two male avatars
- 70 per cent of same sex weddings have taken place between two female avatars
- 9 per cent of all in-game marriages in total have been between two male avatars
- 22 per cent of all in-game marriages in total have been between two female avatars
Same-sex marriage has become a trending political issue both in the United States and worldwide, with a recently passed law in France being upheld as constitutional. No such law exists in either North or South Korea and portrayals of homosexuality -- while on the rise in televised dramas -- are still relatively rare. So it’s fairly significant that Nexon ran counter to their home country’s relatively conservative cultural mores and added same-sex marriage to Mabinogi.
There’s one exception to the game's marry-who-you-want freedom, though: "However, because Elves and Giants oppose each other, an Elf character and a Giant character cannot get married."
Elves and giants, the Capulets and Montagues of our time.