Thursday, July 18, 2024

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide

Crusader Kings 3 adding gay marriage is something fans had been asking for for years after it proved tricky to even support modding without interacting with the baseline structure of the game. With its recent major 1.5 update, kings and queens, and also queens, can finally get legitimately gay married under the approving eye of the Pope, and Paradox Interactive.

Crusader Kings 3 is as much invested in drama and roleplay as it is a dense grand strategy game, so in this guide you’ll find details on both how to marry your gay spouse and whether you can have children, down to how gay marriage affects succession laws, religious laws, and character opinion – and how much that matters if you don’t want it to.

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: How to trigger/toggle gay marriage in Crusader Kings 3

When you go to start a new game, there’s a button at the bottom of the screen that says ‘Game Rules’. This brings up a menu with a number of toggles that set up the world state you’re about to play in, and can’t be changed once you’ve started playing – though it can be viewed later, in-game.

Near the end of the list is a toggle that reads “same-sex marriage”. The default setting (literally “default”) is that same-sex marriage is not accepted. Clicking either the left or right arrow will set it to “Accepted”, and an explanation will appear underneath that “same-sex marriage and concubinage is available for everyone whose Faith accepts it, and whose culture practices concubinage. To enable for everyone set the Same-Sex Relationships Game Rule to Accepted!”

This setting is in the row directly above, on the right-hand column, and it’s also off by default. Enabling it isn’t necessary, but it is helpful, as most faiths in the game world don’t accept same-sex relations. Like a few other toggles that affect how difficult the game is, both of these toggles disable achievements – so don’t feel constrained about adjusting anything else.

Crusader Kings 3 gay marriage guide

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: How to arrange a gay marriage

Once inside a campaign, to arrange a gay marriage you can either bring up the marriage menu by right-clicking on a marriageable character and choosing the “Find Spouse/Arrange Marriage” option, or accepting the UI prompt to find a spouse for yourself or a family member when necessary. 

As you filter through potential spouses, there are new menu options including gender and sexuality. Marriage prospects don’t have to be of a compatible orientation to accept a proposal, but mutual attraction does boost opinion. The ‘matrilineal’ marriage tickbox doesn’t mean anything when arranging same-sex marriages, so you can ignore that and simply pick the best husband or wife as needed.

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: Can you still have children in a gay marriage?

Unfortunately, you can’t have a child with a spouse of the same gender in Crusader Kings 3, and there’s no way to adopt without using mods. If your ruler is polygamous, it’s possible to have children with a concubine of a different gender, and history is full of royal bastards, but there are no options for sharing a child with your gay spouse.

If you enjoy the events around raising children, taking on any other child as your ‘ward’ is mechanically the same as educating your own, but they won’t become your heir. As Crusader Kings 3 is a game about dynasties, being childless can be complicated, but you can choose to change the way succession works.

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: How do succession and dynasties work with gay marriage?

If you don’t want to have a child outside of your gay marriage, then you need an alternative form of succession to continue your dynasty. There are two main ways to do this. The first is easy enough for rulers at any stage, which is to apply an elective inheritance rule to a specific title you might have, such as your kingdom. This costs 1500 prestige per title, but it means your successor is voted on, and your titles can potentially pass to any member of the family.

Crusader Kings 3 gay marriage guide

For characters with larger and more unwieldy realms – and more influence to throw around – the ‘House Seniority’ succession law available at High Crown Authority will pass on all titles to the oldest member of the house, and at Absolute Crown Authority, you can designate the heir to your realm directly.

Whether you choose to have an elected heir, or legitimise a bastard child, they will only inherit titles from yourself and potentially their birth parents. Your spouse’s titles will only be inherited by their own heirs (if they have any) or passed on to their liege or a vassal.

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: Does gay marriage affect other characters’ opinion?

The new update hasn’t introduced any historical attitudes to sexuality that weren’t already present in the game, but if this is your first entry point to the game, let’s unpack what you should expect.

In Crusader Kings 3, whether being gay is accepted, ‘shunned’ or criminal is a matter of religious ruling, along with things like attitudes to divorce and adultery. Within a religion that does not approve of same-sex relations, you can only have gay affairs. These count as ‘secrets’ within the game’s intrigue system, and can potentially be discovered, used for blackmail, or revealed. To be revealed as a “Sodomite” has its own infamy trait (similar to “Adulterer” or “Witch”), which results in a positive opinion modifier to those who share it, and negative opinion modifiers to those who consider it shunned or criminal.

Marriage is only available within religions that are approving of same-sex relationships, so within your own religion and legal authorities, your marriage and relationship are treated as any other. Because being gay isn’t a reveal, there isn’t an infamy trait for other characters to react to. Characters of other religions may have a negative opinion of you, but that’s based on your respective religions, and not individually broken down into conflicting values. They may consider your religion “Righteous”, “Hostile”, “Evil”, or “Astray”, but that’s applied equally to every member. 

To sum up, gay relationships are always possible, but in some religions, are only accessible through affairs, and carry the same potential for scandal. In religions that approve of same-sex marriage, you can legally marry, and keep it all above board. Because you play as different characters within the same playthrough, you can potentially have these different experiences in the same game.

That said, you can toggle on global approval for same-sex relationships at the start of the game if you want to be able to play within any religion without having to think about it.

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: Which religious faiths allow gay marriage?

While you can toggle on global acceptance for same-sex relationships at the start of the game, if you want to keep to the original world state as much as possible, these are the faiths that will allow you to marry a same-sex spouse or take same-sex concubines where applicable. Faiths are organised within religions, so for example, Catholicism is a Christian faith within Crusader Kings 3 that isn’t approving of same-sex relations, but Catharism is.

Christian faiths:

  • Adamatism
  • Messalianism
  • Catharism

Islamic faiths:

  • Muwalladism
  • Qarmatanism

Dualist faiths:

  • Cainitism

Zoroastrian faiths:

  • Khurramism
  • Mazdayasna

Single faith religions:

  • Hausa Bori
  • Steppe Tengriism
  • Finno-Ugric Ukonusko
  • Oromo-Somali Waaqism
  • Yoruba Orisa
Crusader Kings 3 gay marriage guide

In addition to these specific faiths, all Buddhist, Hindu. Jain, Taoist, and both Tibetan faiths are accepting of same-sex relationships within Crusader Kings 3.

You can start as a character with one of these faiths if they’re present in the world. You can also spend piety to either reform your unreformed faith and change its tenets, convert to another faith, or start a new faith entirely. These options can be expensive and time-consuming, so consider if they’re how you want to play the game, or if you want to just dive right in.

Crusader Kings 3 – Gay Marriage Guide: Pros and Cons


  • Your alliance options are quite literally twice as many for any character. If you’re the target of a surprise war, your strategic marriage options have opened up. Characters don’t have to be gay or bi to marry someone of the same gender, so you can be exceedingly tactical.
  • Gay rulers can be in same-sex relationships in the open – your zealous, honest and compassionate characters don’t have to cheat on their spouses or go against their religion.
  • If you want to play ‘close’ to the game rules, it opens new incentives to explore different kinds of campaigns. If you don’t, there’s no disincentive to turning on other toggles like gender equality and overtaking the Papacy for lesbians.


  • While marriage is a useful tool for alliances, you can’t use it to expand your realm through claims or titles. Your spouse’s titles will only pass through their own rules of succession, and not to your own heirs or children.
  • If you use the ruler creator to create a ruler and don’t create any children for them, and never have children with a different-gender partner, there is no way to avoid the dynasty ending with them.
  • As a setting that disables achievements, there’s a weight to choosing to ‘opt-in’ or not at the start of a campaign.
  • In every campaign with gay marriage, you will always have to either change your succession laws, or have children outside your same-sex marriage, which slightly limits the directions you can take.
  • As an option that is already outside of the intended narrative (and exists alongside several other ‘ahistorical’ toggles, like perfect gender equality and turning off religious hostility), an explicit game fact that ‘same-sex relations cannot result in pregnancy’ needlessly excludes trans players.

Legal gay marriage in Crusader Kings 3 opens up several more ways to roleplay and strategise across its world, as well as the choice to skip out on additional complications – almost – entirely. It touches almost every system in the game, and it makes sense that it took so long to implement. In a game heavily focused around succession and a mode that’s already ‘opt-in’, however, you do wonder a little why gay couples couldn’t get a friendly visit from the stork (and where any trans people are?)

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