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EA Versus DOMA

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Electronic Arts has officially joined the coalition of businesses standing in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, the company announced on Wednesday via its official website:

Electronic Arts has joined with dozens of leading US employers in signing an amicus brief that opposes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and urges the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to find portions of the Act unconstitutional.

DOMA presents a number of problems for businesses like EA, as it creates regulatory, tax, and discrimination complications for employers, and that's why we're standing against it. The underlying lawsuit impacts all employers no matter how big or small, and no matter the industry, and we encourage other business to join these efforts.

The Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defines marriage in the United States as being between a man and a woman, barring gay couples from insurance, Social Security, and tax benefits, was signed into law in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, who has since changed his views and has argued for its repeal.

While I applaud Electronic Arts' public support of the cause, I do find it curious that EA cites business practices as its main reasoning for opposing the law, and fails to mention sexual orientation, LGBT employees or any direct references to sexuality once in their statement. Also we mustn't forget EA's history of reported overworked employees; they're hardly the Mother Theresa of game companies.

But as they say, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Or in this case, don't look a gift ally...in...the mouth. Allies are allies, and in the gaming industry they were once few and far between. Their reasoning may be primarily business-driven, but having a pillar of the gaming industry on our side is progress nonetheless.

And it's not as though EA has remained silent on LGBT issues in the past: The Sims franchise was one of the first to include same-sex content in gaming, and with BioWare EA has published the gay friendly Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchises. Last year the company joined the It Gets Better Project, as well:

3 Comments

SuperSwede said:

Yeah, it's easy (and it must be said, often correct) to be cynical about such a move, and no one more than yours truly holds fast to the notion that the sole “principled” stand of your average corporation extends no further than “money = yum yum.” That being said, I really don't care. Whether born out of sincerity, or perhaps just progressive posturing for the sake of being on the right side of history – years from now, it might not be the best PR boost to have it known that you were in the corner of those that list “tongues” as their second language – I’m more than happy to see support from some corners of the business community. A wise old sage once said “visibility is everything,” and regardless of their motivations of the aforementioned companies, i'll gladly tip my hat for at least giving some measure of support to the side of sanity.

OrangeDrake said:

Honestly, EA has a point. It's not the most altruistic point, but there you go. It is a nightmare from a big business standpoint when a law creates a set of people with different rights to insurance and access to various tax exemptions and discrimination codes. It creates a hole laundry list of extra mistakes they can make handling employees that opens them up to liability, not to mention the parade of lawsuits they might be open to if the law if the law is thrown out.

There's really no reason a sane business would support DOMA unless they're courting the religious demographic. It's just a terrible ruling from all angles.

I'm noticing as time goes on, and the unified social front against LGBT people begins to crumble, there gets to be more and more reasons to be tolerant and supportive of how they live their lives. Many are discovering out that there are unavoidable consequences when you make it a political position to humiliate, mock, and disenfrancise a double digit percentage of the population.

The most obvious consequence is that you look like a right asshole. It's sort of like how on the schoolyard someone might get teased for having the wrong color backpack, and everyone joins in because why not. All it takes is one person to ask "Why are we making fun of this person again?" And suddenly all but the most hardened bully will realize that what they're doing is stupid.

Ideas like this are what makes me an optimist. Intolerant jerkwads are always on the wrong side of history, which is why a section of the country feels like "their way of life is under attack" because they're being told that "beatin' up queers" isn't okay anymore.

Large corporations, on the other hand, are located all over the country and/or the world, and realize that different beliefs, personalities, sexualities and lifestyles must be accommodated in order to get anything done. EA's statement, while not the passionate "wave the rainbow flag" declaration that I might have personally written makes that very clear.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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David Greenwood on EA Versus DOMA: I'm noticing as time goes on, and the unified social front against LGBT people begins to crumble, there gets to...

OrangeDrake on EA Versus DOMA: Honestly, EA has a point. It's not the most altruistic point, but there you go. It is a nightmare from...

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