Girl in the Machine
Friday, July 20, 2007
Do I Hear ... Civil Union Bells?


Once upon a time, there were two men from very different worlds: a pompous, successful businessman named Mr. Money, and scrappy, street-smart Jack. The night they met was the start of the most unlikely of loves. Theirs was a turbulent relationship, full of ups and downs, downs and ups. There was passion:


Temptation:


Awkward dancing:


They managed to survive it all. And through all their trials and tribulations, Jack and Mr. Money discovered they couldn't live without each other. So, they decided to make it "official": they wanted to get married.


Thus, the pair made plans for their special day. There was plenty to do: flowers, food, who to invite, what to wear--everything was carefully planned out, down to the tiniest detail. Finally, the big day arrived, and the happy couple exchanged rings and a kiss.


Only, according to The Sims 2, it wasn't a marriage. It was a civil union.

It strikes me as odd that, although every bit of Mr. Money and Jack's wedding was exactly the same as any heterosexual couples', from the setup to the ring exchange, the game has gone out of its way to call it something different. It disappoints me that even in this day and age, a game that unapologetically includes gay relationships draws the line at actual marriage. The franchise has made progress, however: in the original Sims, it was possible to create gay couples, but it was impossible for them to achieve any kind of union, save becoming roommates. The Sims 2 has stepped up, but only to a point.

Why is it, in a game where equality exists almost across the board (men can where makeup, women can look butch), gay marriage crosses the line? Wouldn't it have been easier to just call it marriage no matter what sexual preference the couple has? For family-minded sims, teens who's first kiss is with someone of their sex aspire to get a "civil union", not get "married"; gay gold-diggers wish to "union" with a rich sim, unlike their straight counterparts. The distinction is clear, obvious, and unsettling.

Gay rights have come across a rocky road in America; currently, Massachusetts is the only state to officially legalize gay marriage, and it's possible that this fact may be why gay marriage is not included in the Sims franchise. However, The Sims 2 is obviously not a conservative game, so it's sad that the idea of two men or women marrying each other is too over the top for them. Even through their many expansion packs, the separate labels continue to exist. I hope that one day in the future, couples like Mr. Money and Jack will be able to present their marriage license to the Sims government and know that they're recognized as equal as any hetero couple. Then, maybe the real world can take a hint as well.

Special thanks to BomberGirl for the images.

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 Posted by PlasmaRit
 12:35 AM + Link to this post
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