Almost 70,000 people have signed a petition thanking a leading games producer for including gay characters in its Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3 games.
The petition, giving Electronic Arts (EA) the thumbs up for it gay-friendly stance, was launched by AllOut.org in reaction to attacks against the company from America’s right wing Family Research Council.
Within two days of launching the campaign, AllOut.org reached 60,000 signatures supporting EA for allowing gamers to choose to involve their characters in either gay or straight relationships while playing the games.
AllOut.org members also took to Twitter and Facebook to spread the word where celebrities like Aisha Tyler, Stephen Fry and Neil Gaiman retweeted their support.
Late last month, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council attacked EA, saying that “in a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!”
He said that parents are concerned “that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking.”
Andre Banks, executive director for AllOut.org, disagreed: “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.”
EA’s VP of corporate communications, Jeff Brown, told GamesIndustry International that his company’s games include content ratings and thus “it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment.”
He added: “EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums.”
AllOut.org said that it intends to “enlist Master Yoda himself” to deliver the signatures collected online to the headquarters of Electronics Arts in Redwood City, California.