We just made same-sex marriage legal in Fallen London. Turns out it’s much easier in an imaginary nineteenth century than it is in the real twenty-first, because we only had to change a couple of text labels (‘Constant Companion’ -> ‘Spouse’) and a few dozen words of copy, not enact primary legislation. We were nearly there already. FL assumes everyone’s bisexual (which isn’t as interesting as presenting the full variety of human attractions and attachments explicitly, but it brings the content burden down to something we can afford). So what’s changed?
When we first wrote Constant Companion content, explicit gay marriage seemed a little too flavour-breaking for a Victorian setting: social conservatism is as much part of our expectations of nineteenth century London as top hats and thick fog. When you smooth out bigotry in a historical setting, the result can be anodyne and textureless. It’s a tricky area, and we’ve struggled with it before. So we fudged it. I don’t know if that was right or not.
But, you know, the legalisation of same-sex marriage is a big deal, and we want to recognise it. It felt wrong that very soon it would be possible for gay couples to marry in the real world, but not quite possible in our imaginary one. There is plenty of fictional justification for the rules being different in FL than they are on the surface (spoilers!) And it is important to have low-drama examples of same-sex marriages in fiction, so that in another twenty years, my daughter will be texting her (currently hypothetical) girlfriend on her ironic hipster retro smart watch to say, “Do you know, it was a big deal in our lifetime?’
EDIT: Paul points out that what we’ve actually just done is made marriage legal for PCs as well as NPCs. Legislate that, House of Lords!