Virtual Same-Sex Marriage is Thriving in This Online Fantasy Game

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% of same sex weddings have taken place between two male avatars

- 70% of same sex weddings have taken place between two female avatars

- 9% of all in-game marriages in total have been between two male avatars

- 22% 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.

Update: Per Nexon, here are the in-game perks are for getting married in Mabinogi.

Wedding ring

- Cannot be destroyed without a divorce

- Can be engraved with a message prior to the wedding

- Provides 1 Defense and 1 Protection

- Cannot lose durability and thus never needs repair

While near your spouse with a wedding ring equipped you receive the following for 400 seconds

- HP +10

- Stamina +10

- MP +10

The first time a player gets married they receive the achievement “The Old Ball and Chain”

The Married title, which specifies who you’re married to when worn

Getting married allows the couple to start a family with up to six children

- Requires adoption certificates for each child added

- Allows the couple to create a Family Name and gives a family title

- Allows the family to summon each other

(Video via RathiaVixen.)