In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the player has the option to participate in hetero- or homosexual marriage with any of the other playable races, with no judgment from other NPCs. I can't help but think this is only for game mechanics, and that there would actually be some type of discrimination, especially since the hatred between certain races are so strong.

So, my question is, are there any types of laws on marriage in the Elder Scrolls universe? Is homosexual marriage illegal or frowned upon (since there are no homosexual couples present, at least not in Skyrim)? Is marriage between races taboo, especially between Man/Mer and beast races?

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    Well, first you take an arrow to the knee...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 5, 2015 at 14:52
  • I'd say that evidence suggests that homosexual relationships are not frowned upon in Tamriel. Why not go with that, instead of insisting that it must just be game mechanics?
    – Misha R
    Oct 22, 2016 at 0:49

2 Answers 2


It's important to note that Tamriel is NOT, despite appearances, a unified continent. Even when under the "umbrella" control of a government, Tamriel is really just a loose combination of nine (9) separate cultures. Each of these cultures has its own customs & laws, completely apart from the laws laid down by the governing body of the time.

During Skyrim of the Fourth Era, the common marriage practice was to present the target of your affection with an amulet professing your intent to marry. If the recipient agrees, the two of you are then wed at the Temple of Mara, and afterwards considered man & wife. The fact that the ceremony occurs at the temple and is presided over by a priest of Mara seems to indicate that it is a religious affair, rather than civil (in which case, it would be the local Jarl conducting the wedding).

Based solely on the games, it can be assumed that there are no restrictions regarding gender and/or race when it comes to marriage. Certainly, individual beliefs would come into play as well. While an inter-species marriage (say, Nord & Dark Elf) might be legal, it could easily be accepted in one village while looked down upon in another.

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    At the same time I highly doubt a Dunmer and a Khajiit or an Argonian would be able to be married in Morrowwind. The Dunmer aren't as accepting as the Nords.
    – sevvack
    Mar 5, 2015 at 18:40

Tamriel is a separate universe to Earth - I know this is obvious but bear with me. Throughout history (and in certain cultures today) homosexuality or bisexuality have not been looked down upon or thought of as anything but natural. In Sparta, for instance, and Ancient Greece as a whole, Male/Male relationships were considered more pure and wholesome than those with a female.

Let's not forget that there were times in our recent past when being left handed was considered terrible and evil - and we won't even get into what accusations of 'magic use' and 'witchcraft' have done to people in history.

My point in saying all of this is that homophobia is not ubiquitous nor is it some kind of "natural" state of humans and it doesn't exist in Tamriel in the same way that cars don't exist, they are specific to our world and not others. Currently in much of our world (specifically in those parts dominated by the Abrahamic Religious tradition) homosexuality is criminal, banned, or at very least discriminated against. This is a specific and regrettable trait of that tradition, one which does not exist in Tamriel. .

There are plenty of hatreds that exist in the Elder Scrolls Universe, but homophobia just isn't one of them.

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    A bit too strong about homophobia in general compared to the specifics of tamriel (though you make excellent points). Also ignores general question about marriage customs and specific question about interracial relations which actually likely is considered taboo as racism in general is pretty common in Tamriel.
    – KillianDS
    Mar 5, 2015 at 16:34
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    Perhaps I am a bit strong - but I feel as if it's an important point and the general nature of the question starts with the assumption that the default in a culture is a dislike of same-sex relationships, which sociologically is not true. Is there any evidence that interracial relationships are frowned upon in Tamriel? I believe it's established that the children of such relationships take on the appearance of the mother (It's in one of the books in game) and they seem to be very common. I'm sure racists like Ulfric or the Thalmor frown upon them (though do they ever say so in game?) Mar 5, 2015 at 21:22
  • No, the question assumes nothing of the kind. It notes that there seem to be little to no restrictions on marriage in Skyrim, but at the same time, there are no / few in-game marriages that break the "same race, opposite sex" pattern. The question is therefore asking whether the lack of limitation on marriage partners (where the player character is concerned) is because of game mechanics / catering to player tastes, or whether the Nord culture genuinely has more liberal marriage customs. Your discussion / rant on real-world politics is understandable, but off topic.
    – Wolfie Inu
    Oct 29, 2015 at 7:38

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