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eHarmony Settles Lawsuit and Now Forced to Individuals Seeking Same Sex Relationships

November 20, 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports that online dating service, eHarmony has settled a lawsuit asserting that eHarmony violated New Jersey’s Laws Against Discrimination by not offering services to individuals interested in the same sex:

In what seems like a novel claim to our ears, the Garden State asserted that eHarmony violated the state’s Law Against Discrimination by not offering a same-sex matching service. New Jersey got involved following a complaint by Eric McKinley, a gay match-seeker in the state.

eHarmony has denied violating the law, claiming that its business model has been based on its expertise to date. The company says it has researched thousands of opposite-sex marriages to understand what makes opposite-sex couples compatible.

But, as a result of the settlement, eHarmony next year will launch a same sex matching service called Compatible Partners, which will be marketed in gay and lesbian media outlets, according to a FAQ that the company released today. The document makes clear that users of eHarmony.com will not be matched with users of the new site, compatiblepartners.net.

As you can see, eHarmony, through this settlement, is being forced to enter into a new economic playing field that is already crowded. There is gaymatchmaking.com, alternativeconnections.com and host of other niche sites which specifically cater to gay men and women. Forcing this sort of econmic undertaking is akin to forcing Wal-Mart to maintain a stock of foie gras and beluga caviar or as Michelle puts it, a meat eater suing a vegetarian restaurant because they don’t serve meat. This governmental intrusion by the Jersey AG is an affront to the basic tenets of economic liberty in this country.

It is unfortunate that eHarmony bowed to this pressure. I would have loved to see this work its way through the court system for determination regarding how much the government can interfere in a business model. In order to compete with established same sex dating sites, eHarmony is going to have to sink major funds into research and maintenance of this compatiblepartners.com site which may very well be a financial sinkhole.

What’s next? If some adulterer who can’t find someone to cheat on his wife with at Ashley Madison (online dating for married peope) gets angry that eharmony doesn’t condone cheating, will he sue?

– Yossarian

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3 comments

  1. I think your post is dead on….and I had never heard of ashley madison…i’m speechless…


  2. When I heard this news my first reaction was that eHarmony should just shut down. I swear, I would not be forced to do business in a way I don’t believe it.


  3. Maybe they should just set it up and let it fail, not try to make it profitable. Would that work?



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