EA, Microsoft, and Zynga Oppose Defense of Marriage Act

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EA, Microsoft, and Zynga Oppose Defense of Marriage Act

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No other game companies signed a brief calling for DOMA's repeal.

Folks on gaming forums see Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Zynga as punching bags just as often as purveyors of entertainment, but you've got to give credit where credit is due. 278 companies recently signed an amicus curiae urging the United States government to repeal 1996's Defense of Marriage Act. Singling out EA, Microsoft, and Zynga may not make much sense initially, but as it turns out, these were the only three gaming companies that signed the brief. If the brief achieves its desired effect, crossing state lines will become much easier for married same-sex couples in the United States.

The amicus cites both moral and practical reasons for opposing the Act. "[The Defense of Marriage Act] puts us, as employers, to unnecessary cost and administrative complexity," the brief reads, "and regardless of our business or professional judgment forces us to treat one class of our lawfully married employees differently than another, when our success depends upon the welfare and morale of all employees." Apart from the three aforementioned companies, heavy hitters like Morgan Stanley, Facebook, Twitter, Starbucks, and Walt Disney threw their weight against DOMA.

Signed into law by former president Bill Clinton, the Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage at a federal level as a union of one man and one woman. While this in no way compromises the rights of individual states to marry same-sex couples, it can make traveling across state lines extremely difficult. A same-sex couple that gets married in one state and moves to another state that does not recognize such a marriage could lose all of the legal benefits of marriage, including tax breaks, Social Security benefits, and power of attorney.

While the amicus cites chiefly business concerns, EA, Microsoft, and Zynga have still made a firm gesture in support of equal rights for same-sex couples, and by extension, the larger LGBT community. If this doesn't work out, hopefully more gaming companies will join in on the next amicus curiae.

Source: Scribd via GameSpot

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I think it's important to note that it was a democrat who signed this bill in the first place. Just remember kids, left or right, it doesn't matter, politicians will sell you out to stay in office no matter what.

Good to see this sort of thing. Yay for EA, Microsoft and Zynga :D

Strange that VALVe isn't part of this...

rvdm88:
Strange that VALVe isn't part of this...

Valve doesn't need to promote themselves doing something right for society as much, seeing as they aren't a godawful evil gaming company that every oportunity to seem less horrible is BONANZA~*

But yeah, i am a bit dissapointed VALVE isn't here...

When I read the title, I thought this was going a whole other way, but good on EA, Microsoft, and Zynga, of all people.

Game companies, too busy to fux with politics...

...except EA, and Zynga.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but...Good job EA and Zynga.

There are only 3 game companies that signed because those 3 need all the good press they can get. Plenty of other publishers & developers probably agree, but a PR boost wasn't a top priority for them as a company like it is with Microsoft, Zynga, & EA. Credit to them for the support, regardless of the reason

It is an unfortunately small number from the game biz though. One could argue that other companies didn't want to attract the ire of those in the game community that might disagree with marriage rights (which seems like a large number if one spends 30 seconds or more on Xbox Live). I hope that is not the case

NO matter how they wave their allegiance to the LGBT cause and Gay Rights it will never change the fact that they are some of the most harmful game developers in the industry.

Nice try guys but it does not change anyone's view of you.

EA will fill any hole they see with a bunch of wank.

EA has proved themselves in supporting the LGBT community so that's a given, microsoft leaves me skeptical as they have done nothing to PROVE they care in their games, and it's hard to believe zynga however what with them being gutted through and through.

Off the record, I'm surprised at just how many LGBT people are on the escapist :)

I think one of the FB people said it best "If you drag a person's past sins into everything they do, you will see nothing but monsters" or something like that.

For whatever reason they did it, it's still a good thing! Good on these people!

EDIT: Fixed error

Quiet Stranger:
I think one of the FB people said it best "If you drag a person's past sins into everything you do, you will see nothing but monsters" or something like that.

For whatever reason they did it, it's still a good thing! Good on these people!

Wow, that's pretty powerful stuff. I got to remember that one!

Big deal, they've signed what amounts to the legal equivalent of an online petition. Corporate slacktivism that they're desperate to doll up. Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs and Disney also signed it - why are we not singing their praises?

The hell of it is that repealing it would probably be good for them. It's one less employment law they need to enforce.

Marshall Honorof:
-snip

Well this sucks... how am I suppose to stay pissed at EA now?

So a company you dislike does a good thing. Your response? Berate them for it, because that's exactly how you encourage them to do more good things.

Moosejaw:
So a company you dislike does a good thing. Your response? Berate them for it, because that's exactly how you encourage them to do more good things.

No. No. Of course not.

We berate them because most of the bill is about how hard it is for them to deal with administration. Employee relocation, recruiting, etc. etc. etc.

That's why we are riffing on them.

It's not because they are usually evil and now are against this homophobic law so we still treat them as evil because RAGE! It's just that even when doing something good. it still has to be about them, somehow.

What the fuck do companies have to do with this... does your whole legal system really only run on money or something.

1337mokro:

No. No. Of course not.

We berate them because most of the bill is about how hard it is for them to deal with administration. Employee relocation, recruiting, etc. etc. etc.

That's why we are riffing on them.

It's not because they are usually evil and now are against this homophobic law so we still treat them as evil because RAGE! It's just that even when doing something good. it still has to be about them, somehow.

Of course it has, the entire point of this kind of bill is for companies to make a stand. While they could just have written that "we like the GLBT-community, so let us be nice to them" they get far more impact if they also present a valid case as to why DOMA is not only bigotry but also economically and socially damaging. It is essentially an appeal to reason aimed at the politicians that support DOMA, seeing as how appeals to emotion (such as "homosexuals are people too!") won't matter to the conservative powers that keep DOMA in place.

Whatever their reasons it is nice to see them support the GLBT-community this openly. It shows, indirectly, that they consider GLBT-oriented people as just an important part of their workforce as hetero people are. Honestly, it is a good thing of them to do and no matter what we think of their other business practices (just like with Facebook or Starbucks to take two other examples from that list) we should at least recognize this for the good thing that it is.

rvdm88:
Strange that VALVe isn't part of this...

That's because Valve are busy Alpha testing a new form of hat-based government they hope to conquer the world with, naming Gabe as King Steambeard of the Valvlands. The beneficent King Steambeard will remove the number 3 from existence and require all of his subjects to own at least seven novelty hats.

Back to sanity: it's good to see gaming companies (and Zynga) getting behind the whole gay marriage thing, I guess other studios/publishers didn't sign it because they don't have so many staff that they may eventually have to shift around the country. Interesting that Activision weren't involved, then again they probably want to take the fun out of marriage since they're pretty much done with extracting it from making games.

Zeckt:

Off the record, I'm surprised at just how many LGBT people are on the escapist :)

I'm actually not surprised at all. Random interesting fact: one of the original creators of The Escapist was in fact a Transwoman. Jessica Mulligan was one of this site's progenitors. Ask some of the gold members around here. As soon as I'd learned that I knew this community was in good hands.

1337mokro:

Moosejaw:
So a company you dislike does a good thing. Your response? Berate them for it, because that's exactly how you encourage them to do more good things.

No. No. Of course not.

We berate them because most of the bill is about how hard it is for them to deal with administration. Employee relocation, recruiting, etc. etc. etc.

That's why we are riffing on them.

It's not because they are usually evil and now are against this homophobic law so we still treat them as evil because RAGE! It's just that even when doing something good. it still has to be about them, somehow.

I am not a lawyer, but I do know that in the USA, corporations are generally required to maximize profits for their shareholders above other considerations. Thus, when expressing themselves on legal matters, corporations probably have to frame their statements in relation to their finances, operations, corporate health, etc. Otherwise, the court may question why they're involving themselves in the case at all and disallow the brief.

Most Escapists live in liberal democracies. Any sweeping change in social mores and public policy has an economic component to it. Most of the rights liberal democracy has extended citizens over the years were motivated in part by economic considerations. E.g., the UK, US, and Canada extended a lot of rights to the working classes as well as state welfare programs in the 1930s because the increase in regulations and public spending was seen as preferable to a socialist revolution as in Russia, or a fascist takeover as in many other nations. And capitalism made its peace with second-wave feminism when it realized women with disposable incomes meant new markets. Extending human rights for their own sake is a noble goal, no argument there. But twinning them financial efficiency is a historically successful pattern.

Good move. Still not buying a $60 game with microtransactions, though.

I like how about half of these comments are full of rage for absolutely no reason. Calm down people. You'll live longer.

blalien:
I like how about half of these comments are full of rage for absolutely no reason. Calm down people. You'll live longer.

Yeah I think our generation has become a little too obsessed with snark.

Gethsemani:

1337mokro:

No. No. Of course not.

We berate them because most of the bill is about how hard it is for them to deal with administration. Employee relocation, recruiting, etc. etc. etc.

That's why we are riffing on them.

It's not because they are usually evil and now are against this homophobic law so we still treat them as evil because RAGE! It's just that even when doing something good. it still has to be about them, somehow.

Of course it has, the entire point of this kind of bill is for companies to make a stand. While they could just have written that "we like the GLBT-community, so let us be nice to them" they get far more impact if they also present a valid case as to why DOMA is not only bigotry but also economically and socially damaging. It is essentially an appeal to reason aimed at the politicians that support DOMA, seeing as how appeals to emotion (such as "homosexuals are people too!") won't matter to the conservative powers that keep DOMA in place.

Whatever their reasons it is nice to see them support the GLBT-community this openly. It shows, indirectly, that they consider GLBT-oriented people as just an important part of their workforce as hetero people are. Honestly, it is a good thing of them to do and no matter what we think of their other business practices (just like with Facebook or Starbucks to take two other examples from that list) we should at least recognize this for the good thing that it is.

I will loan you money at 0 percent interest.

A pretty nice guy am I not?

Now that contract you just signed?

Yes that contract.

It says you can only repay me in pints of blood.

So yeah, motivations behind a good deal are also important :D

Falseprophet:
I am not a lawyer, but

You sure have the lawyer speak down :D

I think you contradicted yourself 5 times in that comment. It's a noble endeavor that they pursue something for their own profit. But they are because they as a company are required to maximize profits. Which is why they have to express their interests financially or else the courts might question their motivation, which is still profit.

Ya there are some LGBT people on the escapist... for example I'm a transgender. Regardless of whether this is for PR or not, they are doing the right thing, the reasoning behind why isn't quite as important as what's being done (hell being paved with good intentions and vice versa).

Seems a bad move to me but then again I support DOMA. Besides companies should stay out of politics, they influence it far too much.

Mr.K.:
What the fuck do companies have to do with this... does your whole legal system really only run on money or something.

I was wondering that myself. So, a few companies have come out in opposition of something. That's...fine, I guess? Really not sure what we are meant to take away from this.

Well, the key element here comes down to the tax breaks and benefits, which is what it's always been about more than anything. The idea being that these benefits exist due to the assumpsion that a married couple is going to have kids, and for it to make it easier to raise a family. Alternate systems of obtaining children which gays can take advantage of, such as adoption, foster care, etc... already include their own systems of benefits which exist parallel to this (and tend to be abused, especially the foster system).

The law was pretty much designed so that states that wanted to legalize gay marriage could do so, and take their own responsibility for that, but other states wouldn't have to worry about picking up the tab. It's actually a pretty fair way of doing things from a legal perspective, though it's understandable why certain people who might want to move do not like it.

At the end of the day it's one of those cases where whether your anti-gay, or pro-gay, this isn't about the sexuality, it's about the money. In general if your state winds up having to pay benefits to gay couples that's a problem, especially if your state has been unable to balance it's budget to begin with (as many haven't) and that means a tax hike for you to pay for it. While a lot of liberals might be all excited about paying an extra 1 or 2% of their paycheck each week/month so gay people can get benefits, not everyone, including a lot of liberals, are going to see it that way.

When it comes to things like power of Attorney and things like that, it's already been addressed in most cases. Hospitals for example will generally allow things to defer to a "life partner" rather than a spouse due to the problems raised.

I'm NOT going to argue or debate the point here, just spelling it out. That said I can see why a number of companies have gone forward with it as a PR move, especially seeing as they don't have any real vested losses in the situation if it goes through. I'd imagine if they passed the law but on the condition that these big companies become entirely responsible for paying out the benefits from their own profits while agreeing to goverment mandated price fixing to prevent them from raising product costs to pass the costs on to the people anyway, there would be a mad rush to distance themselves from the policy.

One of the reasons why the USA got into so much crap financially is that we tend not to think ahead to the cost of all of these principles and social programs/reforms. It's all great on paper until the bill comes up and someone has to pay for it, the goverment doesn't get it's money magically, it comes from you. "The goverment can afford tax breaks, it's rich" well news flash, our economy is in the toilet, we're talking a possible goverment shut down. People are already worried about taxes exploding when people are having trouble making ends meet as it is without adding another variable.

To my way of thinking this is an issue that should be tabled until the US is in better shape, as should many others. When we're talking about having to let prisoners out of jail because we can't afford to run the prisons, it's hard to care about paying to make a symbolic point.

My attitude, and as I said, I'm not going to debate this or argue, just say my piece and move on. I have a pretty good idea what most of the people on these forums think about this anyway.

WanderingFool:

Marshall Honorof:
-snip

Well this sucks... how am I suppose to stay pissed at EA now?

By remembering that they have a lot more good deeds to do before they're done repenting for their business practices. This is a step in the right direction (for them, and the other two companies), but it hardly undoes the harm done by their usual business practices.

WhiteTigerShiro:

WanderingFool:

Marshall Honorof:
-snip

Well this sucks... how am I suppose to stay pissed at EA now?

By remembering that they have a lot more good deeds to do before they're done repenting for their business practices. This is a step in the right direction (for them, and the other two companies), but it hardly undoes the harm done by their usual business practices.

Here is how unbelievably entitled you sound. There are two issues at play here:

1. Millions of Americans are being treated as second class citizens and having the quality of their lives significantly reduced just to satisfy the bigotry of the religious majority. People have died because they weren't able to use their same-sex partner's health insurance benefits. Not to mention that laws like DOMA help enable a culture in which just this week a Mississippi politician was murdered for being gay.

2. A video game company uses copyright protection measures on their software, offers additional products to buy after the initial purchase of the game, and gave a really fantastic trilogy an unsatisfactory ending, which they then revised.

Now I'm not justifying EA's practices at all, but the first issue kills people while the second issue doesn't affect anybody who chooses not to buy EA's games. And yet, the second issue fills you with so much rage that EA's attempts at dealing with the first issue barely make a scratch. Repent? We used to use that word for thieves, rapists, and murderers.

You grew up in the first generation in human history in which nothing was expected from you but to sit on the couch and stay out of your parents' way. Try experiencing just one hardship in your life and maybe you'll get a sense of perspective on what really matters.

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