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06/01/2007 01:56 AM ID: 62790 Permalink   

Gays Sue to be on eHarmony


Gays, lesbians, and bi-sexuals have been excluded from the popular dating service eHarmony.

A lawsuit alleging sexual orientation discrimination was filed on Thursday. This suit may reach class action status.

“This lawsuit is about changing the landscape and making a statement out there that gay people, just like heterosexuals, have the right and desire to meet other people with whom they can fall in love,” said lawyer Todd Schneider.

    WebReporter: video183 Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
2 Opinions here...
First one that comes to mind: Gays should be able to do that.
Second one: It's really the owner of the website's call. Companies have the right to refuse service.
  by: Dark_Stang   06/01/2007 02:12 AM     
I second that. Though I second #2 stronger. #1... not as much.
  by: robplatt   06/01/2007 02:52 AM     
  Just start up their own website  
I dont see why they should have to change the audience they cater for after all, (SN Reported) gay clubs are getting the ok to throw out hetro customers. So why cant a website disregard gay customers?
  by: ssxxxssssss   06/01/2007 03:22 AM     
  @Dark_Stang, robplatt & ssxxxssssss  
It’s no different than any other form of discrimination… whether it’s against blacks, Jews, women, Asians, the Irish, etc.
Any company or institution that sells or services to the general public should not be allowed to discriminate. It’s funny how many people are okay with discrimination… until it’s THEM that’s being denied service.
  by: StormRoyale   06/01/2007 03:52 AM     
  Faulty comparisons  
Stang: It's the owner of the website's call so long as there's no law against it. Since it seems may be, eHarmony may be in violation. Personally, I'm OK with that. I don't believe anything should exist without moderation, and free enterprise is no exception - even if it is some stupid dating service.

@sssxxxssss: I'm amazed at how quickly some people have latched onto that one single isolated case in one single city in a particular country as the foremost counterpoint to any gay rights issue. That was one club (not clubs), it wasn't in California, and the point was protection rather than exclusion. It may have been a bad idea, but can we hold the alarmism about how gays taking over and locking straight people out, please?
  by: MomentOfClarity     06/01/2007 04:04 AM     
6 more clubs have applied for the same exemption. It is something that is becoming wide spread. And for protection? Laws already protect people in venues from violence/harrasment, they eject the violoent/disruptive people, this was so they could just discriminate and not get sued.

Do you also say that someone who services Fords, and wants to open a ford repair shop should be forced to service and repair Honda's?
Also if you decide you want to make a business where your repair Windows PC's, you can be forced to repair MAC's and Linux machines?
Your technically discriminating against the owners of those item based on what they own. Basic examples but still valid.
I do think its wrong they dont have a 'homosexual' preference on eHarmony, considering it would be relatively easy to implement, but forcing them to goes, but i dont agree with making them cater to an audience they dont want to cater to.
If there was no other options it might be different, but its hardly like there is no gay friendly dating sites. There are even plenty of gay only ones.
  by: ssxxxssssss   06/01/2007 04:53 AM     
Though I'm all about the gay rights, come on! This
is a known dating site for "traditional values" types
(i.e. no categories for cheating, etc), so why would
you want to be a part of it, anyway? You wouldn't
find anyone but uptight Mormon types on there
anyway. How unfun is that? I think there are a few
gay guys out there who need to go find a real date
to occupy their time rather than sue dating sites.
  by: Mister crank     06/01/2007 05:12 AM     
  This is suing for a service not admitance  
The big problem I see with this is they are not suing because they are excluded from eHarmony, correct me if I am wrong but I do not believe eHarmony will prevent someone who is gay from registering, they are suing because eHarmony is not a gay dating service.

To me this seems like it would be like me suing Jet Blue because they don't fly to my local airport.

eHarmony is providing a dating service which attempts to match men and women, maybe it would make financial sense for eHarmony to establish a dating service for homosexual couples, but it seems to me like that aught to be their decision because making it is going to have financial implications for them as a company, maybe it would work out well for them, maybe it wouldn't, but as it's their money on the line it seems like th decision about whether or not to provide such a new service aught to be theirs as well.
  by: gtg833b     06/01/2007 06:08 AM     
Yeah.. they could call it gHarmony... (Someone camp that one out now.)

Speaking of being allowed into to place.. I need to go check out and see if I can get into a Curves for Women Gym..
  by: CaveHermit   06/01/2007 06:22 AM     
  @sxs, gtg  
sxs: If you think I must agree with that other story, go read up, I already argued against that legal foolishness:

That said, we still disagree. Take it up with your local government when your neighborhood gay bar tries to do similarly. It seems like a very thinly veiled excuse for prejudice to speak as if the arguable hypocrisy of a few pubs negate any right 10% of the population has to argue for equal rights anywhere else.

gtg: Ah, but you chose not to live near a Jetblue airport, and there is no legal protection from geographical discrimination, and but their is for one's born sexual orientation. As for the difference between registration and service, that argument reminds me of "They can get married, just to members of the opposite sex." It's discrimination no matter at what phase they deny people equal treatment.
  by: MomentOfClarity     06/01/2007 06:59 AM     
It is against federal law to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or national original. In addition to this, states have their own laws against discrimination. California, for example, has the Unruh Civil Rights Act which provides broad protection from arbitrary discrimination by business owners, such as for unconvential dress or sexual preference.
eHarmony is a California based business.
  by: StormRoyale   06/01/2007 08:47 AM     
gtg833b:"correct me if I am wrong but I do not believe eHarmony will prevent someone who is gay from registering, they are suing because eHarmony is not a gay dating service."
...California court decided that a restaurant owner could not refuse to seat a gay couple in a semi-private booth where its policy was to only seat two people of the opposite sex in such booths. There was no legitimate business reason for the refusal of service, and so the discrimination was arbitrary and unlawful.

Ironically, thier moto is: eHarmony #1 Trusted Relationship Site - Move Beyond "Traditional" Online Dating
  by: StormRoyale   06/01/2007 09:02 AM     
  On the club exclusion  
Its done illegaly in the Manchester gay district (yes, we have one) quite often.
  by: Gogevandire   06/01/2007 09:11 AM     
  This worries me  
It could get to a situation like the Catholic adoption agencies being forced to assign children to same sex couples in the UK.

If eharmony's owners have a moral or religious objection to being forced to allow same sex couples, they may simply choose to withdraw the service completely.

The law is far too blunt an object to use sometimes.
  by: Maxx20     06/01/2007 09:59 AM     
  what right?  
This isn't a public run service, this is a guys personal website. He should be allowed to do whatever he wants. There ARE gay and lesbian dating / hooking up sites out there... I just find this crazy.

I demand you cater
  by: koultunami     06/01/2007 10:03 AM     
the way i see it is, eHarmony has the right to choose who it caters to. It is like a person who is allergic to milk demanding Macdonalds cater to their allergy. Now besides the point that Macdonalds does, they are both born traits in a person and can not be changed.
I can see peoples concern with equal rights, but it is not a local supermarket that someone NEEDs to survive, there are PLENTY of alternatives.
  by: tiggyfiggy   06/01/2007 10:26 AM     
  Yea. This'll  
Get people to be okay with and respectful of you. Make a ruckus 'cause you can't get on an internet dating service. Fantastic. Now let's all prance down the street in boytoy leather gear to show our pride while we ruin traffic flow. That'll help too.
  by: KaLO   06/01/2007 10:48 AM     
eharmony doesn't work all that great anyway. hehe. A computer genius friend of mine actually registered thinking it was worth a shot, but then found tons of problems with their coding. He had to help their tech people with it and they still didn't understand what he was saying and never fixed it. the people that get matched up aren't always good matches as promised ;)
  by: jeniq     06/01/2007 02:00 PM     
  @Moment, Storm  
Comparing this to any argument regarding marriage is not a fair comparison because when we are talking marriage we are talking the government which is under a completely different set of rules and responsibilities. They have a responsibility to provide a compatible similar service to all their citizens and this IMHO includes allowing gay marriage. That in no way applies here however because we are talking about a company with a responsibility to shareholders (if it’s public) and not a government institution with a responsibility to its citizens.

The restaurant thing is a bad example here because in the restaurant’s business model is serving people food, any claim that their business model revolves around only serving couples of the opposite sex in secluded booths is complete and utter BS. In this case the business model of eHarmony revolves around providing this specific dating service built on their many years of experience in this specific field. I would hope for those that use the site that it is more than a random number generator back there assigning one person to another. Whether you believe they do a good job of it or not, they do have a lot invested in their person matching algorithm, forcing them to alter that algorithm which is the central tenet of their business model is a legitimate business reason that they should not be forced to do this.

All this being said I just want to be clear that I think this is the wrong decision on their part, that fact that I feel they have a right to make this decision does not change that fact that I think it is a wrong one from both a moral and economic standpoint. I mean they are already matching straight couples up and I am sure there would be an investment of time, energy and money into developing a compatible service for homosexual singles, but I think in the end the money they would get for hooking these lucky couples up as well would more than make up for it.
  by: gtg833b     06/01/2007 02:19 PM     
"That in no way applies here however because we are talking about a company with a responsibility to shareholders (if it’s public) and not a government institution with a responsibility to its citizens."

Have you read the source? They are being sued for violating a California law that demands pretty much the same thing of them - equal service to all. There is no unfettered free enterprise in this case, so the comparison is pretty apt.
  by: MomentOfClarity     06/01/2007 04:53 PM     
I have read the source and the only facts I see regarding whether this law applies are that the woman suing them claims it is discriminatory under California law...well I would think she would as she is engaging in the lawsuit.

If you have the actual text of the law in question to submit, or a link to this text by all means do...I have been Googling around for it a bit and have found several carbon copies of the source and then a bunch of Christian sites talking about how bad the law is but neither one of those really helps all that much.
  by: gtg833b     06/01/2007 05:58 PM     
"I have read the source and the only facts I see regarding whether this law applies are that the woman suing them claims it is discriminatory under California law..."

Wouldn't that seem to indicate to you that there is a law in place, given that the case is moving forward? Stormroyale names that law in his response to you above and links to background on such laws. Here, take a brochure:

It seems quite applicable, but that's for the courts to decide.
  by: MomentOfClarity     06/01/2007 06:16 PM     
  My Opinion  
This is not discrimination. If in fact their ads are correct, they have a computer matching system that specifically works with heterosexual people. It's not a matter of bias, but a matter of knowing what mathematically matches woman with men. Now, I'm no rocket scientist, but the calculations would be different for those sueing.

eHarmony has not stopped anyone from visiting their site or using it. They have simply set up a site with certain variables. Those variable are specialized for one specific purpose, which is incompatable with certain groups of people.

You know, you just don't sue someone demanding they change their entire business strategy, change the sole purpose of their company, change the very nature of the website and demand that all variables be compatable with your demands. It isn't about Gay people, it's about principle. You don't go into someones house and tell them how to live.

Lastly, this is a private business/club in which any member may sign up. No exclusion, however, by signing up and joining you are bound by the limitations of that site. Nah, you are bound by the limitations simply by visiting the site. This lawsuit is inappropriate in the same way that replacing guns with walkie talkies due to political pressure is inappropriate.

/Now, I don't care what you respond to me saying, I'm not going back to this thread again.
  by: seniorgato     06/01/2007 06:20 PM     
First of all a suit has been filed which means essentially the lawyers think there is a case to be had here. I see nothing in the source referencing any hearings on the matter at all to this point which means at this point we have essentially one side of the argument and that is all. So, assuming that this law applies seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. From the link you submitted:

"All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”

Now this does not specifically mention sexual orientation, but from this document it states that the courts have ruled that this is not an exclusive list and can be expanded to cover other forms of discrimination so no problem there. Now as I am reading this, whether or not this law applies here really hinges on what you define to be the service eHarmony is offering and as you said that is something the courts are going to have to decide.
  by: gtg833b     06/01/2007 06:57 PM     
  @jeniq, seniorgato  
You'd think the people going to eHarmony already have a positive/open attitude going into it, so it's not unrealistic to assume that even if you're not a perfect match with the person they SAY is a perfect match won't ever really matter anyway, because you may just as well consider your match "good enough" and try to make it work.

"This is not discrimination. If in fact their ads are correct, they have a computer matching system that specifically works with heterosexual people."

Perhaps, but Dr. Neil Clark Warren is an evangalical Christian who states he holds true to orthodox values; he used to be the dean of a theological seminary and has NO interest in providing an outlet for gay people to find each other and marry. He's got a Ph.D. in clinical psychology; I have no doubt he has the wherewithal to add male-male and female-female options on the site, gay relationships are not THAT different from hetero relationships, and I propose that the types of questions already posed to heteros on the site (which are often subjective anyway) could be used for same-sex matches. Warren states that of the thousands of couples he helped in his services as a therapist, he never had any same-sex couples and doesn't understand their dynamics (and says not much is known on a broader scale), and therefore cannot reliably offer the same level of compatibility that he can for heteros. That's interesting, because he claims he doesn't care what your religion is, and admits he doesn't understand the dynamics of relationships between men and women of various religions, but still allows them to utilize his services. Since religion can largely shape a person's beliefs and moral fiber, I'm really confused as to how he can allow non-Christians on his site, but not gays. I think he's using this "inexperience" as a cop-out to his true feelings on same-sex marriage. He SAYS he doesn't have a problem with it, but uses the legal status of the practice in America as yet another reason he doesn't offer it. He admits divorce rates between Christians are just as high as Athiests and Agnostics because Christians want to get married quickly in order to legitimize their sexual relations - he thinks courting someone for two years is the only way to go.
  by: caution2     06/01/2007 08:28 PM     
In regards to the comments that eHarmony doesn’t discriminate in that it allow anyone to sign-up, but the matching is always male-female…
eHarmony will delete your ad if you say within it that you are gay, a polyamorist or anything else that it deems inappropriate.
  by: StormRoyale   06/01/2007 08:59 PM     
"First of all a suit has been filed which means essentially the lawyers think there is a case to be had here."

We've covered all of that. A lawyer cannot bring a case without some legal backing, and we've already established both that there IS legal backing (citing the law) and that it HAS been applied to sexual orientation already (the link to legalzoom). So no, it's not one-sided, any more than any other case that has yet to be ruled upon. All the comments here about how the claimant has no right or legal justification for this suit are just ignorant, plain and simple.

"Now as I am reading this, whether or not this law applies here really hinges on what you define to be the service eHarmony is offering and as you said that is something the courts are going to have to decide."

The only reason I see a hangup there is because frankly I see Dr. Warren's service as being questionable in the first place. My understanding is that the site excludes people for other reasons (age, mental health, and relationship history) as well, so what's really to be determined is how sound the "science" is in the first place. If it's sound, Warren's excuses may have some merit...though that does not mean they cannot conduct further research (for which they have a specific department) to expand their service.

Warren says gay relationships are somehow different, but does not expand upon those differences which would have to be based in some kind of psychological difference between gay and straight people, a difference not found to date. They also say their research is based upon studying "successful marriages," but though gays have not been able to marry until recently, there are plenty in long term relationships which are just as easily studied if they insist that the difference is significant. If the science is sound, it can be expanded upon. If not, they can offer their relationship pseudo-science to everyone. The bottom line is that if eHarmony is to provide a service to paying customers in a state which forbids discrimination, they'd best get their research division on that.
  by: MomentOfClarity     06/01/2007 10:02 PM     
Main Entry:
dis·crim·i·na·tion Listen to the pronunciation of discrimination
the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually b: prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment.

eHarmony isnt having gay bashing sessions. Harmony has not said "We hate gays, therefore we will not allow them to be members of our community" so there is NO discrimination here. A business has a right to exist without having the stress of fear mongering liberals attacking them because you wont cater to every f*ed up thing they do.

Who says eHarmony has to devote resources to something, that they wont see a good return on. Its business A.K.A Private Sector - these people need to get a life. Surely, there has to be some kind of gay online dating service. Go there.
  by: Classy   06/01/2007 10:12 PM     
  @Mister crank  
As a Mormon I feel that you are descriminating against me for being uptight. I therefor shall sue shortnews for descriminating against Mormons. And then Pass a law stating that only Mormons may post comments on shortnews.
  by: Tetsuru Uzuki     06/01/2007 10:23 PM     
So would you be okay with a business that is open to the public, but would not service women, blacks, Jews, etc? If yes, then what if it wasn’t just one business that practiced this, but the majority of business excluded a particular group? The South shall rise again!
  by: StormRoyale   06/01/2007 10:31 PM     
I have to say, that was some creative "interpretation," which might be impressive if law was formed upon the word of Mirriam-Webster. I love how you turned this:

"3 a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment <racial discrimination>"

...into this:

"the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually b: prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment."

Funny how you copied everything BUT that notation of meaning a, almost as if you intended to obscure that b is another meaning, not a necessary condition to make something discriminatory. Having cleared that up that spin, your argument is wrong because this is clearly discriminatory treatment by meaning a. Overt prejudice is not required.

Who says they have to comply? California law, and if you'd read the source or any of the comments above you'd see that's been well covered. I guess you're the first person to stereotypically pin it on them damned Lib-ruls, though. I was just thinking this topic was lacking in inane partisanship.
  by: MomentOfClarity     06/02/2007 01:05 AM     
  my personal opinion  
Personally, I think that this lawsuit is wrong and should be thrown out.
I am not anti-gay, etc. but this is a private business and should have the right not to serve anyone it chooses.
Now, that business then has to deal with the consequences of that discrimination. If the groups decide to protest or take out ads against the business, that is their right; but suing the business is NOT.
Hey, if I want to open a restaurant and not serve anyone with blond hair then it is my right as the owner of a private business. However, it is the right of anyone else to protest my actions; but not to sue me.
  by: edwardrt   06/03/2007 12:34 AM     
  This is stupid  
You can't sue a pool hall if they don't have a snooker table, you can't sue McDonald's because they don't serve tacos, you can't sue a Christian dating site if you some other religion. eHarmony prides itself on being a dating site where couples form lasting relationships and get married (at least it seems that way on their commercials). Now it's kind of hard to do the last part, unless you live in a select amount of states.
  by: qhobbes   06/03/2007 03:31 AM     
Actualy, I would be.
If its cost effective for a business to only cater to one legged mexican transgendered bisexuals, and they choose to, good for them.
  by: Gogevandire   06/04/2007 12:53 PM     
  aren't there  
enough gay hook up websites already?\
  by: warchylde010176   06/05/2007 07:41 PM     
  @ all the Naysayers  
I don’t think you naysayers are getting the big picture here. It wasn’t that long ago that minorities were being denied service from a huge portion of their business community. It wasn’t that they could just cross the street to go to a business that would serve them. What ended that, were laws that prevented discrimination. The South didn’t abolish separatism because they WANTED to. Without these discrimination laws (and lawsuits) the U.S. would become even more polarized than it already is. Each group would need to have its own community that was completely self-sufficient and separate from all the others that didn’t approve of their race, religion, sex, orientation or handicaps.
If I were a business owner, I would love to refuse service to all the fundamentalist and zealots out there, but I understand that it’s just like Freedom of Speech. If you silence one group because you don’t like what they’re saying; what’s stopping someone from silencing you?
  by: StormRoyale   06/05/2007 08:39 PM     
"If I were a business owner, I would love to refuse service to all the fundamentalist and zealots out there,"

Good for you, I'd accept there money, do much better than you, become a millionaire and laugh as you go bankrupt.

Eharmony provides a service, that service is finding men female partners, or women male partners.

If you dont want that service, go elsewhere.

If Eharmony chooses not to cater to then, it doesnt get their money, a competitor does.

Freedom, Freedom always wins.
  by: Gogevandire   06/05/2007 08:45 PM     
The businesses that you're referring to about denying blacks services were, for the most part, connected to the government in some way. They were not completely private businesses, or else I would have to agree that they don't have to serve me or any other black person if they don't want to. The government should not and cannot impose its will on a private company, IF that is what eHarmony is.
  by: kcking05     06/05/2007 08:50 PM     
The Government can and does force you to deal with people without regard to skin colour.

This was not always the case, it was actualy law in some states that businesses COULDNT cater to whites and others.

So there was a black theatre, and a whit theatre.

That of course is stupid, but this is just as stupid, well, a little less, but still stupid.
This being Eharmony being sued.
  by: Gogevandire   06/05/2007 09:00 PM     
Grocery Stores, Restaurants, Telephone Companies, Cable TV, etc are all private businesses. Even land lord could be considered private businesses. It’s not that hard to imagine communities or cities where the majority of private business would/could/did discriminate against a minority. And if you happened to be the minority in that community, than you’re F**ked. If you are a business owner in one of those communities and you want to service the minorities, you could be blacklisted and also refused service at the majority of businesses. It’s not one of those things that ‘couldn’t happen’. It HAS happened right here in the USA and is STILL happening in other countries.
  by: StormRoyale   06/05/2007 09:35 PM     
  lol, not the same thing  
I see where you're going, however you are comparing a Public Need to a service provided for a small amount of people which isnt necessary. (believe it or not.) A dating service website is not the same as a Supermarket, and even if it were, I couldn't sue my local supermarket because it didn't cater to my type of food, I simply shop somewhere else.

First off, if this website were servicing a necessary part of life, such as the supermarket does, and they were the ONLY ones providing the service, than I would understand this lawsuit. That is not the case here.

P.S. You may want to rethink some of your examples:

Cable TV is not available in many rural areas because these companies choose not to service these areas. Should the farmers in these towns sue?

Certain Cell Phone services charge higher rates depending on where you live when you subscribe to their service. Should these customers sue?

The good part about private business is that the owner can make his/her own decisions for his/her own crowd.
  by: kcking05     06/05/2007 11:37 PM     
  there is merit to both sides  
I think cases like this should come down to two things:

1. deciding whether the service/product is an essential to maintaining a quality of life and

2. deciding if there are reasonable alternatives

For the former I think that a dating service does not qualify and for the later there are a plethora of alternatives. No one is going to die because they couldn't list a profile on eHarmony.

This is California FFS. There are gay dating service adds running on local telivison along side the straight services along side the swinger/party adds. I think there is a lesbian one too, but I'm still pretty sure they want guys calling that line. There are an ample number of alternate services out there. Forcing each one to cater to all lifestyles is just a little absurd. Dating services are niche markets, the businesses reflect that.

For the record I am all for gay rights -- I believe they should be allowed to marry under State and National law, that they should receive all the governmental benefits and resopnsibilities of such a contract, that they should be afforded equal employment opportunity and that any discrimination at the workplace or harassment anywhere in society should be met with stiff legal reprocussions.

However, it's not like eHarmony is calling up gay people and telling them "nya nya, you dandies can't use our site!" They have a service set up to cater to a particular type of person as their business model. I don't see anytihng inherently insidious or discriminatory about that. Hell, I don't have a problem with dating services being race specific either. If you want to limit you clientel like that, it's your business. I hear the local the single black male serivce is doing quite well.

  by: ouka   06/06/2007 12:21 AM     
  @Mister crank  
I have "Traditional Values", and that's what i look for in a mate. I guess that's from my Rural Upbringing.

And Mormons... Ever seen Latter Days? That Mormon guy was hott. Sign me up... twice!

But no, if they ever did start Man 4 Man searches, i wouldn't use them. Just for the simple face i was excluded to begin with. Same deal with Cracker Barrel; i won't eat there. Firing 11 gay employees and making it company policy to not hire homosexuals kinda makes me not want to give them my money to them. Even now they have a pro-gay policy, i still won't eat there.
  by: TheManThatUFear   06/07/2007 04:58 PM     
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