Though Star Wars: The Old Republic has wooing, romance, and all that soppy stuff one would expect from a BioWare game, the developer had so far said that the MMORPG would only allow coupling with NPCs of the opposite sex, not same-sex pairings. Delightfully, it's now changed its mind, announcing that same-sex romance will be added post-launch.
Due to the design constraints of a fully voiced MMO of this scale and size, many choices had to be made as to the launch and post-launch feature set. Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature. Because The Old Republic is an MMO, the game will live on through content expansions which allow us to include content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options.
BioWare does seem to be revising history slightly, as its past talk of same-sex relationships in The Old Republic made no mention of any plans or desire for them. "Same-sex romances are not in Star Wars: The Old Republic," producer Cory Butler answered curtly when asked about same-sex romances on BioWare's own 'BioWare Pulse' show at Gamescom in August, without the slightest hint that there was more to it.
As RPS notes, it certainly doesn't help matters that, in 2009, a BioWare community manager declared that the words "gay" and "lesbian" were banned on the SWTOR forums because, "these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars." Unsurprisingly, this offensive policy was soon lifted.
Still, that's over and done with now, and same-sex relationships will arrive in The Old Republic some time after launch. This approach might run the risk of leaving those relationships feeling slightly hollow, though.
The story side of the MMO is being pushed heavily, as it's always one of BioWare's main focuses, and an important part of this is players' relationships with their NPC chums. Players wishing to role-play a same-sex relationship will have no partner to share their adventures with as they first start exploring the galaxy at launch, while those opting for opposite-sex hippity-dippitty will get to discover love along with the game. It'll be difficult for BioWare to introduce new characters in ways that can capture the same excitement as when everything is shiny and new.