(Closed) eHarmony to Provide Gay Dating Service After Lawsuit

posted 11 years ago in LGBTQ
Post # 32
Member
41 posts
Newbee

I don’t post very often on this site but I was stupefied to read the above comments.  It infuriates me that there are still so many people who just don’t get it.  Enmoore’s example was perfect but to further illustrate it to others out there.

The lawsuit is not asking the "burger joint" to add tacos to their menu, it’s requiring the burger joint to sell their existing menu to EVERYONE, including gays.  Right now, EHarmony’s burger joint is selling burgers to everyone except gay people. So in essence, they are discriminating towards one specific group of people. 

The lawsuit would not change EHarmony business much (if at all)  since they don’t need to do anything else other than to allow gay people the opportunity to use their matching services.  A simple check box that says "Sexual Orientation: gay" is really all that’s needed.

People are essentially the same the world over so those 16 dimensions that they use to match up straight people will also work for gay people.  It’s tough enough to find love in this world, I don’t understand why people would deny other people the tools to try. 

Post # 33
Member
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

bluebell – You can sign up for e-harmony if you are gay right? You just can’t have it match same sex.  You can sign up for Jdate if you are Christian, but you can’t make it match your denomination (which if you are Jewish, you can).    I don’t really see the difference.

Post # 34
Member
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

I actually discussed this with a gay friend who made the following points:

1.  If a company is publically traded, it can’t be discrimanatory

2.  As a gay person, my coworker would NEVER support eHarmony due to the fact that they were discrimanatory

 My coworker also happened to agree that asking them to trade was just like asking for Thai food at a Mexican restaurant.  That being said, he was incredibly happy that it is being brought to light, not for eHarmony specifically, but for the principle of the matter.

Post # 35
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2007 - Bride's family summer home in the Adirondacks

Janna – no, you only have the option of being a "man seeking a woman" or a "woman seeking a man."  If that does not describe you, then you are not able to sign up.  Sure, anyone could lie (aka say they were Jewish) but no one who is not seeking an opposite sex match can sign up based on who they actually are.

Post # 36
Member
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

ahhh, interesting.  Thanks Bluebell. 

Just for the record, I would never support eHarmony either and I completely disagree with their views on gay marriage/relationships.

 

 

Post # 37
Member
7 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’ve been pretty aggravated by this thread because people are confusing what eharmony is legally entitled to do and what they choose to do as a business. I am a very strong supporter of same sex rights and ordinarily would not choose to affiliate myself with organizations that do not support or recognize the validity in a same sex reationship or the importance/right of same sex marriage. However, those posters who are arguing against eharmony’s new site or their prior refusal to same sex match as a legal violation are simply not correct. While sexual orientation should be a proteced class, it is not. Only race, gender, ethnic heritage, etc. are protected classes. Sexual orientation is not protected by the federal or (to my knowledge) any state constitutions. Therefore, anyone or any organization can discriminate freely based on sexual orientation. Furthermore, even if it was a protected class, from a federal constitution standpoint, there is absolutely no violation for a private entity to choose to exclude same sex couples. The federal constitution discrimination provisions do not protect citizens from private action – only government action. Now, state constitutions can prohibit discrimination on a private level based on sexual orientation, but to my knowledge that has not yet been done (unfortunately). Nor am I aware of other state lor federal legislation making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. In the absence of any state or federal law, eharmony is not doing anything "wrong" from a legal perspective, and they cannot be made to accept anyone. Now, I realize there was a lawsuit pending based on eharmony’s refusal to same sex match. I admittedly have not read any of the pleadings in this lawsuit, so I am not familiar with the plaintiff’s arguments. However, I would be very surprised based on the current state and federal jurisprudence if the lawsuit were ultimately successful. Nevertheless, eharmony chose to settle the lawsuit, a condition of which was to offer same sex matching. This was a business decision – not a recognition of its prior violation of any law whatsoever. We are all aware that the law does not recognize or protect all basic human rights, which is very unfortunate. But I take issue with posters claiming that eharmony’s prior practices are violations of any law or constitutional right (as the constitution is currently interpreted). The truth is that eharmony did not violate any law – its stance on same sex matching may be offensive (as I believe it is), but it is not illegal. And it may be unethical (as I believe it is), but it is not illegal. I think all of these posts miss the point and are unfortunately dangerous because they inadvertently take away from the main point – what eharmony did in the past or is doing in the furture is its own choice. If we as a society want same sex couples to enjoy the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples, if we as a society want to recognize that sexual orientation is no more a choice than skin color, race or ethnic heritage is, then we need to focus not on individual companies that are making decisions we might not necessarily agree with but instead on the governments that are not recognizing sexual orientation as a protected class. Of course if eharmony or other companies are acting in ways that are personally offensive, then personal action should be taken – don’t subscribe to eharmony, don’t offer it your patronage. But it is a waste to be outraged and scream about the injustice of it if you don’t realize where the problem and the remedy lie. Unfortunately, eharmony did nothing legally wrong, and they are offering a new service not out of any legal obligation but out of a business decision to end a lawsuit that while probably not destined to be successful will ultimately cost them a lot of money to defend. It makes no sense to single eharmony out without recognizing that it’s simply existing in the corporate market the nation has sanctioned. Anyway, this is a very long rant/post, and I apologize for the length and if it has sounded preachy at all.

Post # 38
Member
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

Noladawg, from my standpoint, you nailed it.  I completely agree with you.

Also, as a teacher I must say something… reverse-discrimination doesn’t exist.  Discrimination does not apply simply to the majority against the minority, it is when anyone makes a decision in favor or against anyone else based on a catagory.  I just had to have a conversation today with a parent who was saying that her blond haired, blue eyed child was experiencing "reverse-discrimination" from some Asian students.  Sorry for the teacher rant…  🙂

Post # 39
Member
7 posts
Newbee

Actually, NO, not all people are alike–not research-wise, not from a demographic point of view. Groups of people are unique and complex, and there are many factors to consider when thinking of them in a research situation.

 If you are looking at eHarmony as research, you couldn’t say that how ALL people are matched up using whatever algorithm that eHarmony uses works for everyone…I’m assuming they must have used some sort of standarization process or norming data of heterosexuals-both male and female–maybe even info about couples with the most longevity, although I admit that I have no clue what they based that all on or how they came to their conclusions and what sort of results they have had for people, but they have to have statistics they base this on and subjects they used to come to the conclusions they did in the creation of the algorithm–and most likely not just "Oh, they answered ALL of these questions just the same, so they’re perfect for each other."

Also, demographics such as male and female preferences might come into play when looking at male-male matches and female-female matches–and homosexual males and females might be looking for something different in a partner preference-wise than male-female matches and from each gender of gay partner, so that could potentially call for the need for the research to be tailored to "male-male" matches and "female-female" matches–I’m guessing the folks at eHarmony haven’t been busy researching preferences and compatibility in gay relationships. I’m interested how these matches will turn out…what if they’re all duds since they’re based on research using straight couples? But wait…I’m just hearing people chime in…"Well, they might be duds, but at least they’re offering this option to gay people, and that’s a step in the right direction!" Well, that’s lovely and wonderful and birds will sing and unicorns will fly over rainbows, but these people will be paying dearly for poor matches if that is the case–And eHarmony will again be the villain since they are offering "shoddy services" to gay people–and someone will probably sue again. And to think that  the crappy service was b/c some dude who went a long way feeling angry and suing people so that eHarmony would offer a gay dating site- for it all to be a sham since it is based on faulty research (ie-research that does not apply to them and their preferences specifically) in the first place. 

Megan, I’m also with you on the discrimination existing for anyone–It’s possible, and it can be arbitrary–I’ve heard of studies where complete strangers in a group disliked each other based on being in a group of "us" vs. "them", eye color, what they were wearing, hair color, hand used for writing, etc…

And, I STILL stand by this—If a business doesn’t offer what you want, just go elsewhere–Don’t sue.  The fact is that gay people can use this site–They aren’t restricted from using the site–BUT it isn’t targeted at them AND they’d have to choose "Man looking for woman" or "Woman looking for man." AND the site is of no use to them if they are gay, but it’d be ridicluous to sue any business that isn’t of use to your specific needs. And, I have a feeling that a lot of this lawsuit has to do with what eHarmony represents to certain people who don’t like them and that suing them was therapeutic since they have been associated with the "religious right" and "focus on the family." AND THEN there’s fact that all of this is now *completely* beside the point–The deal is done, and there WILL be a gay eHarmony site.

It seems wrong to restrict businesses in how they run..We now have to include EVERY need of ALL people ALL the time, lest we happen to offend ANYONE, ANYWHERE, at ANYTIME. Sometimes it feels like we are becoming a nation of whiners, hall monitors, and criers waiting with our hands up for the teacher to come take sides. 

So, on that whiny note: I’m still waiting to hear about when straight people can sue gay dating sites to include a "hetero" option…

 

Post # 40
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Not to enter the fray too much, but I believe this discussion needs to be based on facts. As of 2004, 21 states had passed a law making sexual orientation a protected class. In states where sexual orientation isn’t a protected class, individuals cities have included sexual orientation as a protected class for things like housing, etc. 

Post # 41
Member
7 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Thanks, loveatfisrtsightlover. I didn’t realize that. I wonder if any of those laws apply to private actors. It’s at least a good sign of progress.

Post # 42
Member
168 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Not a problem hon! Even I had to look up the statistics to be certain that I was quoting the right number of states. I don’t really think it’s well known that so many states actually have done this. My state, Iowa, has not, but my hometown made sexual orientation a protected class. I know your heart was in the right place, and I think everyone has had some valid arguments on both sides of this discussion. I just wanted to make sure misconceptions didn’t enter the discussion.

Post # 43
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

I’ve never posted before, but a lot of these comments have a misguided view of the law.  Just because you’re a private company does NOT mean that you can do whatever you want.  The signs that businesses post above their doors — "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" — are not really accurate.  Restaurants cannot refuse to serve people based on their race, or a host of other things. 

These kinds of laws are known as "public accommodations laws."  They date back from English times; in England before the American revolution, innkeepers and tavernowners similarly were prohibited from discriminating and were required to keep their doors open to the general public.

eHarmony’s actions are NOT legal simply because they are a private company.  Legally speaking, the question is whether or not eHarmony held itself open to the general public.  If so, it is illegal in NJ and CA for it to discriminate against gay people.  We won’t really know the answer to whether it’s really a "public accommodation" since the suit was settled.  But there are very very good arguments that it is, based upon the fact (observed by many commenters) that eHarmony does not explicitly exclude anyone from their audience.

You can read a very brief description of California’s public accommodations law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unruh_Civil_Rights_Act

Post # 44
Member
64 posts
Worker bee

Glad to hear this!

They weren’t being direct about their discrimination, they were simply not finding matches for a whole list of people.  I tried it out with a few friends one night and we were all rejected!  Gay, Straight, and the BIG one: Not Christian!  

It’s a Christian site plain and simple.  And look, they own Wedding Bee!

Post # 45
Member
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

@Harper, the good news is that although eHarmony owns Wedding Bee (and Project Wedding), promises were made when the sites were sold to eHarmony that eHarmony would not interfere with the editorial policies of the sites.  And as far as I can make out, those promises have been kept.  Not only is there an lgbtq board here, but I have felt welcome on all of the other boards, as well.  (Just as well, really, since I’m a Jewish encore 50-something diy bride in an international lesbian interfaith marriage.)  Mrbee and mrsbee have made clear their own support of same-sex marriage.  And over on Project Wedding, I recently took first place in the DIY Wedding Challenge 2010.  Whatever the policies of eHarmony, this is clearly a safe place for nonChristian people, gay or straight.

Post # 46
Member
64 posts
Worker bee

It is and it’s obvious.  Glad to hear eHarmony is slowly waking up!

The topic ‘eHarmony to Provide Gay Dating Service After Lawsuit’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors