Small Voices …
Zynga, the prolific and popular maker of Facebook “social” games, recently announced that one of its digital distractions, FrontierVille, boasts roughly 650,000 same-sex marriages.
FrontierVille isn’t the first video game allowing same-sex couples to marry. Fallout 2, released in 1998 (two years after DOMA, go figure) was the first; subsequent sequels have all featured the same option. The Fable series also permits fab-u-lous weddings. And when the Lord of the Rings MMORPG forbid players to hook up gay dwarves, there was a huge backlash.
Still, your first reaction to this news may be: who gives a shit? Well, you should give a shit … commode-mouth.
Zynga has a user base of 320 million, and Facebook—where all of Zynga’s games live, breathe and annoy—has rocketed beyond half a billion users. Those numbers are nothing to scoff at.
Though gay marriage in the United States hasn’t attained the same levels it has online, last year’s U.S. Census reported almost 150,000 same-sex marriages, and Massachusetts, the first state to institute the, uh, institution, boasted its lowest divorce rate since 1940, likely thanks to newlywed homosexuals.
… Behind Bullhorns
There are a few qualifications beyond the fact that these FrontierVille marriages aren’t, like, real.
Just because FrontierVille players can get gay married doesn’t mean all 650,000 of those players are real-life queer—some may have chosen the liberal path to reap certain in-game benefits.
It also doesn’t signify that a tsunami of universal approval will sweep the nation, influence legislature, and protect same-sex marriage under the Constitution.
What it does mean is that the hateful misconception of same-sex marriage as a lubed route to damnation is deteriorating. Every step towards tolerance—be it in the form of video games, pop artists, grassroots political groups, or awesome baby onesies—is still a step.
This shouldn’t be discounted—especially in the gay community—as “not enough.”