Because the World Cup soccer tournament is being held in Russia, a country infamous for its laws forbidding public LGBTQ displays of any kind, the Sweden-based Björn Borg underwear line has launched the Marriage Unblocked campaign, an online system where allow people to propose and “marry” each other online, no matter if their country has legalized same-sex marriage or not.
The launch video for the campaign — which features four same-sex couples — says, “Same-sex marriages are forbidden in 87% of all countries.” Furthermore, some countries offer same-sex couples ‘civil unions’ as a gay counterpart to heterosexual marriages. One of the video’s same-sex partners criticizes this compromise, stating, “Ask any girl, ‘Do you wanna civil union me?’ No. People want to get married.”
“A lot of people are feeling like they’re second-class citizens,” one woman in the video says. “You don’t feel like you’re human. You feel like an object. You feel very disposable and weak,” another man says.
Here is the Björn Borg Marriage Unblocked video:
The Marriage Unblocked campaign encourages people to click the “I do” link at their site, write down a vow to their loved one and then to send a personalized page link to their partner. When the partner clicks “I do” and sends their own vow back, the information gets stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Couples can also view an online “marriage certificate” once they’re wedded.
There’s no way to divorce through the campaign once you’re married, but since this is all symbolic anyway, perhaps it doesn’t matter.
But, since a blockchain is basically a public digital record of transactions, it’s unclear who’ll be able to see who has been “married” through this campaign. Thus, same-sex couples in countries with severely anti-gay laws may want to use aliases when “marrying” through the Marriage Unblocked campaign. Björn Borg also suggests that people not including any identifying information in their vows.
Björn Borg is also using augmented reality technology for to display a virtual banner for smartphone camera users taking shots of the crowd at Luzhniki Stadium, one of Russia’s World Cup venues. Although the virtual banner will be available for the duration of the World Cup, it displays two men kissing — one with a Russian flag painted on his cheek, the other with a Saudi Arabian flag painted on his cheek. A match between these two anti-gay countries kicks off the World Cup tonight.