(Closed) eHarmony to Provide Gay Dating Service After Lawsuit

posted 11 years ago in LGBTQ
Post # 17
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I am mystified as to why, as a LBGT person, you would choose to give your money to an organization like eHarmony, which is clearly affiliated with the religeous right.  These people hang in the same crowd that believes homosexuality can be "cured."  Their politics are sufficiently distasteful to me that I couldn’t stomach supporting them.  So sueing them for the right to contribute to their profit structure seems strange to me.  It just seems like it would be a better idea for those of us who disagree with their politics to spend our money elsewhere, even if the site does offer a service we want – provided that we can get it elsewhere, from people with less objectionable politics.

Post # 18
Member
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I think MJC and others are using an illogical and illformed analogy.  If you want to stick with the restaurant thing – they are being told they can’t order a taco because they are gay.  They are being discriminated against.  Let’s leave your restaurant analogy now.

E-Harmony has a mission statement of matching people spiritually, on a bunch of dimensions, etc.  No where in there mission statement does it say "our mission is to match heterosexual couples."  It actually says stuff like this, "eHarmony members to be matched with compatible persons with whom they are likely to enjoy a long-term relationship."  So they aren’t selling "tacos" they are selling "matching compatible persons for a long-term relationship."  That is what the sign says.  It doesn’t say "Matching only Jewish people" or "matching only african-americans."  The sign says "matching compatible persons."  The sign says "tacos."

So yes, the crazy people who ask for Thai food at a taco stand will be told, "go to a Thai restaurant."  And the crazy people who go to e-harmony and say, "I’m looking for someone to date casually and/or have a one night stand with" are told to go to match.com.  

But if a Black christian man asked to be matched with a christian Asian women and e-harmony said – "you’ll have to go to a special dating website for that because we only match christian blacks to other christian blacks" – that would be discrimination.  The black man asked for a taco and he was denied.  He asked for the service they advertised, and he was denied. 

I’ve known many gay people who identify themselves also by their religion (christian, jewish) and want to meet someone of the same religion.  They want to date someone who is also of their religion and probaly those other dimensions that E-harmony advertises.  Being a minority group, there are just less gay black christian men out there.  It can be hard to find someone when you are straight – it certainly would be hard to find someone who is a minority (or double/triple minority).  So when e-harmony says they offer matchmaking on 16 dimensions, gay and straight people thought "yes, I’d like to be matched on 16 dimensions…. I’m happy a dating website is talking about religion and family values, etc."  So then the gay man goes to E-Harmony and says "I want to be matched on 16-dimensions" (aka the taco you are advertising) – and e-harmony says – oh, you can’t be matched on 16-dimensions cause you are gay.   It is discrimination.  IT IS DISCRIMINATION.  You can make up all the crappy analogies you want, you can make up stupid terms like "reverse-discrimination" and feel bad for the billion dollar company that is being forced to stop discriminating, OR you can open your mind to the idea that discrimination (against gays, but also against hispanics, women, blacks) is still alive and well in America today and pretending it doesn’t exist is not a solution.

Post # 19
Member
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

You can read e-harmony’s mission statement here (to see what they are advertising for you lover’s of restaurant analogies).

http://eharmony.com/about/eharmony

No where do they say that their business’s mission is to match heterosexual couples.

Post # 20
Member
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2020 - The Rivers Club

maybe I missed it in the article… but I wonder why they couldn’t just add same-sex matching to eharmony instead of creating a new site. Seems to me like they are still trying to keep the LGBTQ community out of eharmony.

Post # 21
Member
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Really, my last post.  I found their official mission statement.  It is under FAQ on their webpage. 

Question:

What is eHarmony’s mission?

To empower people with the knowledge and inspiration needed to grow and strengthen their most important relationships for a lifetime of happiness.

I don’t see where it says "we are in the business of matching heterosexuals."  In fact it does say in the FAQ,  "To protect our users, we do not give membership to people who apply who are underage, already married or dishonest."  

Thus, they have a product they sell to some people, but not others.  Some people get the tacos, some don’t, all based on sexual orientation.  Discrimination.

 

Post # 22
Member
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Thank you enmoore.  I was beginning to feel like I was alone in this.

As Suzanno said- I too wouldn’t/don’t support companies that discriminate against anyone.  If I were gay I would be very passionate about not supporting companies that discriminate against me.

However, I think the man that brought this lawsuit did the right thing.  He may not want to give them his money, but bringing the lawsuit was the only way to draw attention to the issue and to force that company to comply with anti-discrimination laws.

Do you think blacks and Jews in this country really wanted to join country clubs full of bigots?  Probably not.  But someone had to be first to stand up and point out the discrimination by applying for membership. 

I think that’s what this man has done in suing eHarmony.  The lawsuit may not be able to force eHarmony to embrace the spirit of anti-discrimination laws, but it can force them comply with the letter of the law.  At least that’s a first step.

Post # 23
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

Does this mean a return of the departed bees? I’ve been following each of them on their private blogs, but I’d love to see them come back to the hive!

Post # 24
Member
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

That didn’t even occur to me desertbride, I would love for them to come back!  Like you, I’ve been following their private blogs.

Post # 25
Member
7 posts
Newbee

Hey, I’m saying that as a gay person you can use e-Harmony’s service, but you wouldn’t be matched up with same-gendered people–I’m sorry if that’s not your cup of tea or your preference or what you would want. My "crappy analogies" were to state essentially that a person should choose to only use businesses that have something good to offer them–I use businesses that will offer me something I want. If they DON’T offer what I want, I go elsewhere. I don’t sue them.

By not using e-Harmony’s site, you are not being deprived of finding love. Most people in this world find love and have found love pretty well without e-Harmony–gay, straight, interracial, whatever, whoever…and will so in the future either way. AND not have to pay for the "right" to pay hundreds of dollars to be matched up online…

And if you don’t care for e-Harmony but want a business LIKE them out there for gay people, why not create your own business that does match people on compatibility for a long-term relationship? Why give your cash to e-Harmony (and a lot of it at that) if you don’t agree with them? You don’t sue someone so that they will create a business that will cater to what you are looking for…If it doesn’t exist already, you could actually make your own site. 

Telling someone what type of business to run is actually wrong in and of itself. Just because you don’t like what is being offered doesn’t mean you should sue to get what you want–If you don’t want the product they have to offer (setting you up in a male-female relationship), then find another site that DOES offer what you want.

Again, I ask you, does the reverse hold true–Should we now sue all other websites that are for people of specific backgrounds, including gay dating sites, so that they will include ALL people?

Post # 26
Member
170 posts
Blushing bee

@ mjc714411  I agree with what you are saying and I believe your analogies were spot on as well as the clothing store metaphore presented earlier.

This is exactly like forcing a Jewish dating website to match Buddhists. A company’s mission statement doesn’t have to outline specifically what products they sell.
 
To speak to the bigger topic, this is exactly what supporters of Prop 8 were afraid of and this exactly reverse discrimination.

Post # 27
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 1969

enmoore I think you gave a really good analogy and example.

Post # 28
Member
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

As someone who is a proponent of gay equality in marriage, I am not sure I agree that e-Harmony should legally need to provide same-sex matching. Honestly I am torn.

There are a ton of very focused dating sites – Jdate, blacksingles, etc. which cater to small groups.  Now granted, you don’t have to be Jewish to join Jdate or black to join blacksingles.  But you are on sites looking to match Jews and blacks.  Seems like the same thing with eHarmony – you can be gay and join, but the site is devoted to hetereo matching….

That is the difference with the country club membership example = you could not join if you were Jewish or black. Illegal. To me the better analogy to e-Harmony is an anti-semetic WASPy club allowing a Jew in (gay people can join), but that Jew never feeling comfortable or like they belonged (but can’t be matched with other people of the same sex).  Legal, but I don’t know why someone who is not welcome would want to be there in the first place!

Post # 29
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2007 - Bride's family summer home in the Adirondacks

Just to clear something up, on certain targeted dating sites (JDate for Jewish matches is the only example I’m sure about) you definitely CAN sign up and match with people outside that group.  They don’t list all the different religions, but they do have "Unaffiliated," "Will tell you later," and "Willing to convert" as options under the religious background section, and I know that a lot of people from other religions DO use the site.  So basically, these "exclusive community" dating sites are still required to let ANYONE join because remember that whole "discrimination is illegal" thing?  That applies to them too. 

So, like suzanno said, I hope that the GBLT community chooses to support companies who actively welcome them instead of begrudgingly creating a separate-but-equal site for their use, but I still think the bare minimum we can accept right now is that eHarmony complies with THE LAW by making their service available to all people.

Post # 30
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 1969

To reiterate enmoore’s point I don’t see where eHarmony says that they only cater (for lack of a better word) to hetero couples. To repost again:

Question:

What is eHarmony’s mission?

To empower people with the knowledge and inspiration needed to grow
and strengthen their most important relationships for a lifetime of
happiness.

The are offereing matching services for people, not straight couples, just people. And if they are saying that they match up people, then by not including gays they are being discriminatory. 

Maybe some people think that its just semantics. I think they (eHarmony) is trying to have their cake and eat it to. They don’t want to just say Christians because it would eliminate certain customers but at the same time they wanted to be selective about who is able to use the service. You know what thats called? Discrimination. 

 

Post # 31
Bee
979 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park

Lbo- eHarmony may not have this posted on their site, but their founder has said in public interviews that their matching algorithm is based on heterosexual matching data, and does not include that for GLBT matches. He’s also said that eHarmony’s goal is marriage and that because GLBT couples cannot lawfully be wed in most states, they are outside the "mission" of eHarmony.

From a marketing/business standpoint, there really isn’t anything wrong with either of these statements. But what it comes down to is whether it is really that straightforward, or whether it is ethical or discriminatory.

For better or worse, I am very happy to see that eHarmony will be making this change, and while again, I can understand that they might be makign a separate site for GLBT clients for branding/business/marketing reasons (i.e. better moneymaking), I hope it is JUST that and not that they are buying into the "separate but equal" mindset.

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