Despite Protest, EA Games Stand Behind Decision to Offer Gay Characters

By: Christopher Donaldson
4.11.2012

Antigay hate groups have been much talked about lately, mostly in relation to marriage equality and the impact of homophobic rhetoric on LGBT youth.

Yet, although organizations such as the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and the National Organization for Marriage might seem more antipathetic and discriminatory today than at any other time in recent memory, the odds for a future world better and more equal than the one we currently inhabit have already started to tilt in our favor.

Still, as support for LGBT equality grows, so will antigay hysteria.

In recent weeks, for example, the Family Research Council and the Florida Family Association have been leading a letter and email writing campaign against video game developer Electronic Arts (EA) in response to its decision to give players the option to pursue same-sex relationships in such popular games as Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

And as you probably already know, the whole Biblically driven thing was initiated back in January by Tony Perkins, president of the FRC, who clicked his heals and opened his mouth to say on live radio—quote— “In the new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists.”

Gaming Industry International reports:

“The letters have been directed to EA's executive team, creative heads, its board of directors and just about anyone at a high level. Many of them threaten to boycott EA's titles if the publisher refuses to remove same-sex relationship content.

“The letters also infer that EA was pressured by LGBT groups to include homosexual content in its games, and that this content is somehow forced upon children, exposing them to LGBT themes.”

But from the outset, EA has without hesitation refused to preserve or validate Perkin’s widespread hostility. And to the company's credit, AllOut.org issued a petition that not only thanked the gaming giant for standing up for LGBT visibility, but over the last two days, has collected more than 60,000 signatures in support of EA’s decision to include LGBT characters in its video games.

“Electronic Arts customers are speaking out loud and clear: Being for equality is good for business. Groups like the Family Research Council are truly on the ‘dark side’ - they put pressure on companies like EA to block fair, balanced portrayals of gay characters in gaming and other media,” said Andre Banks, executive director for AllOut.org. “You don’t have to be a gamer to understand that it makes a real difference for Electronic Arts to present positive portrayals of gays and lesbians to its community of 100 million players.”

The Advocate has more on EA’s decision not to edit gay content here. And if you’d like to sign AllOut’s petition, visit: http://allout.org/en/actions/theforce

Tags: WEEK IN GEEK
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