eHarmony settles case out of court; agrees to launch gay-friendly dating service.
Conservative dating site eHarmony will launch an offshoot dating service catered to gays called Compatible Partners, the company announced today.
According to the settlement of a New Jersey discrimination lawsuit, the site must launch by March 31 of next year and be marketed in gay and lesbian media outlets. In addition to a large dose of pride from gay supporters, the man who filed the suit, Eric Mckinley, will receive $5,000 in damages. He filed a formal discrimination complaint against the site in 2005; a similar case against the company is underway in California. Whether or not the New Jersey ruling will affect the California suit is still to be determined.
According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, the company made clear it will alert Compatible Partners users to the fact that its matching system was created from research done on heterosexual—not same-sex—couples. Dr. Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian, founded eHarmony in 2000. The site soon after came under attack for its discriminatory practices. According to a previous YourTango article about the company's policy, the site rejects one-third of potential daters—even heterosexual Christians. Such was the argument that the company presented in a New Jersey court for three years before agreeing to settle the case on the conditions announced today.
For others whom the site has deemed "unmatchable" for reasons other than sexual orientation, never fear, there's a niche dating site for you. Even marrieds, ferret-lovers and gun enthusiasts can find love online, if not via eHarmony.