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So, this is “progress?” eHarmony, a Christian-targeted dating website, gets sued by a gay man demanding that the business match him up with a same-sex partner. The New Jersey Attorney General intervenes on behalf of the gay plaintiff and forces eHarmony to change its entire business model. To be clear: The company never refused to do business with anyone. Their great “sin” was not providing a specialized service that litigious gay people demanded they provide. This case is akin to a meat-eater suing a vegetarian restaurant for not offering him a ribeye or a female patient suing a vasectomy doctor for not providing her hysterectomy services. Sadly, eHarmony has settled . I wish they hadn’t, but I understand the decision given the chilling antics of the anti-Prop. 8 mob. The company agreed not only to offer same-sex dating services on a new site, but also to offer six-month subscriptions for free to 10,000 gay users. Behold the submission:
Coming soon to EHarmony — Adam and Steve.
The Pasadena-based dating website, heavily promoted by Christian evangelical leaders when it was founded, has agreed in a civil rights settlement to give up its heterosexuals-only policy and offer same-sex matches.
EHarmony was started by psychologist Neil Clark Warren, who is known for his mild-mannered television and radio advertisements. It must not only implement the new policy by March 31 but also give the first 10,000 same-sex registrants a free six-month subscription.
“That was one of the things I asked for,” said Eric McKinley, 46, who complained to New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights after being turned down for a subscription in 2005.
The company said that Warren was not giving interviews on the settlement. But attorney Theodore Olson, who issued a statement on the company’s behalf, made clear that it did not agree to offer gay matches willingly. “Even though we believed that the complaint resulted from an unfair characterization of our business,” Olson said, “we ultimately decided it was best to settle this case with the attorney general since litigation outcomes can be unpredictable.”
The settlement, which did not find that EHarmony broke any laws, calls for the company to either offer the gay matches on its current venue or create a new site for them. EHarmony has opted to create a site called Compatiblepartners.net.
Warren had said in past interviews that he didn’t want to feature same-sex services on EHarmony — which matches people based on long questionnaires concerning personality traits, relationship history and interests — because he felt he didn’t know enough about gay relationships.
eHarmony had been previously sued by a lesbian looking to force the company to match her up with another woman and by a married man who sought to force the company to hook him up in an adulterous relationship.
Perhaps heterosexual men and women should start filing lawsuits against gay dating websites and undermine their business. Coerced tolerance and diversity-by-fiat cut both ways.
GayPatriot West gives eHarmony’s capitulation thumbs down.
Update 4pm Eastern 11/20. Geez. Now, a California judge has approved a class-action lawsuit by gays against eHarmony. When it rains, it pours:
(onlinedatingmagazine.com – November 20, 2008) A California Superior Court judge has certified a class action lawsuit against eHarmony.com for discrimination against gays and lesbians in California. The news comes one day after eHarmony settled a case in the State of New Jersey where a gay man accused the company of discrimination. In that settlement, eHarmony agreed to open up a service that matches gays and lesbians.
That announcement had no affect in the California case, which is moving forward.