The Sims 4 Marriage Expansion Won’t Release in Russia Due to Anti-Gay Law
Yesterday Electronic Arts announced a new expansion for The Sims 4 called My Marriage Stories which, as the title suggests, is all about getting married: you can elope and run away to town hall, or you can throw in the planning, the parties and everything else leading up to the big day. The expansion will be released on February 17, and in the meantime, there’s a teaser site for Dominique and Camille’s upcoming virtual nuptials.
Shortly after revealing My Wedding Stories, Electronic Arts announced that the expansion will not be released in Russia. Dom and Cam, the focal point of EA’s promotional efforts, are both women, and a Russian law passed in 2013 prohibits content promoting “non-traditional sexual relationships” and allows penalties of up to 1 million euros ($13,400) for companies. who violate the guidelines.
Electronic Arts acknowledged that putting a same-sex couple front and center meant the expansion “wouldn’t be something we could freely share around the world,” but said it was unwilling to make any comments. changes to accommodate countries with anti-LGBTQ laws. .
“The ability to tell stories – any story – is at the heart of what we do at The Sims. Holding back Cam and Dom’s story meant compromising the values we live by,” EA said. “We are committed to the freedom to be who you are, to love who you love, and to tell the stories you want to tell.
“So what does this mean for you, our players? We are committed to delivering on that commitment by highlighting and celebrating stories like Dom and Cam, so we have made the decision to forgo the release of My Wedding Stories where our storytelling would be subject to change due to federal laws. Unfortunately, this means members of The Sims community in Russia will not be able to purchase this game pack.”
Russia’s law banning the ‘promotion’ of LGBTQ lifestyles was passed almost unanimously by the State Duma in 2013, and despite domestic protests and international backlash, the crackdown has continued: according to Human Rights Watch, Russia’s Justice Ministry recently filed a lawsuit to force the closure of Sphere, the legal entity that runs Russia’s LGBT network, for activities “contrary to state policy aimed at preserving, expanding and develop [the country’s] human capital” and pose “a threat to public order and the rule of law”.
This isn’t the first time The Sims 4 has run into trouble in Russia for allowing same-sex relationships. The base game is rated T (Teen) in North America and PEGI 12 in Europe, but is rated Adults Only in Russia to avoid breaking the law.