Thursday, November 20, 2008

eHarmony forced to provide same-sex dating service

The Boston Herald reports that, thanks to a court settlement, the online dating service will now offer a same-sex matching service, CompatiblePartners.

While not directly a Prop. 8 story, I thought this was an interesting case of how the same-sex "agenda" (for lack of a better word - I know that's painting with broad brushstrokes, but I'm blanking on a better term) has forced a private business to cater to its wants, regardless of the business's interest:

TRENTON, N.J. — Gays and lesbians seeking partners now may join an affiliate, under a settlement announced Wednesday by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Membership to the same-sex matchmaking service will be free for up to 10,000 new users in the first six months, according to the agreement. The charge usually is about $150.

The announcement came more than three years after Eric McKinley of Monmouth County, N.J., filed a suit claiming that the matching service violated the state’s Law Against Discrimination because it did not offer same-sex services...

Theodore B. Olson, the lawyer for eHarmony, said the company believed the lawsuit "resulted from an unfair characterization of our business," but decided to settle because "litigation outcomes can be unpredictable."...

Neither the company nor co-defendant Neil Clark Warren — its founder and pitchman in eHarmony’s widespread television and radio ads — admitted liability. Pasadena, Calif.-based eHarmony agreed to pay the state Division on Civil Rights $50,000 to cover its costs, and to pay McKinley $5,000 and provide a free 12-month membership...

Furthermore, will post photos of homosexual couples, include such couples in its advertising and post a link to the same-sex site. It also may post a disclaimer pointing out that its matching system is based on research involving heterosexuals. The Compatible Partners site must state that it is affiliated with eHarmony.

Note that while eHarmony was heavily touted by the Christian community at its inception, its lack of same-sex services had nothing to do with Christian morals. Rather, the research that serves as the basis of the system's compatibility testing was conducted with heterosexual couples. Warren said he didn't feel he knew enough about same-sex relationships to offer a similar service.

I like how blogger Michelle Malkin points out that this lawsuit 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."

It's a private business that didn't refuse to do business with anyone, but merely provided a limited scope of services. Someone in the gay community could have very successfully capitalized on the concept to create their own match service.

Should I be able to sue JDate because it won't match me up with LDS men? It's the same principle.

eHarmony has also famously refused to hook a married man up with an adulterous, extramarital affair. Should that be altered, too?

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Heather said...

And people say that allowing same-sex marriage won't affect anyone. I guess they're right in a round-about way, because we don't allow same-sex marriage yet they are still getting everything they want by suing those who don't believe they same way they do. If you don't like the way eharmony runs their business, then don't support it. Go someplace else. But don't force people to believe the same way you do.

Liz said...

Great coverage! Good questions at the end there. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it is curious how homosexuals are demanding that he (owner of eHarmony) provide a service he knows nothing about. Hm....

Katelynn said...

eharmony isn't being FORCED to provide this site. They were sued (ridiculously, might I add... and I'm all for gay marriage). Rather than wait for it to go to court, lay out the evidence for a judge or jury, eharmony SETTLED. This means they are not admiting guilt, and the suing party is happy with the settlement and willing to drop the suit.

So eharmony was NOT FORCED to provide this service. They could have gone to court, plead their case, and probably won. However, that wouldn't stop future suits... they've had this problem since they opened.

In other random news, I met my partner on eharmony, and neither of us are christian.

Liz said...

Yes, but wouldn't all the past lawsuits and threats of future lawsuits suggest a sort of "herding," a heckling if you will? They may not be overtly "forcing," but they're certainly goading the company into producing what they want. The guy finally settled out of exasperation.