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Suit Against eHarmony Threatens Freedom of Gay Websites

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:59 pm - June 8, 2007.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay PC Silliness

I have put off for some time posting on a suit a California lesbian filed last month against the dating service eHarmonyfor refusing to offer its services to gays, lesbians and bisexuals.” I had hesitated writing because I have much to say about this for a great variety of reasons, largely because it goes to the heart of what it means to live in a free society.

In short, let me say that I oppose this suit and hope the judge dismisses it. While I don’t approve of this web-site’s only offering services to individuals seeking romantic relationships with a member of the opposite sex, it’s not really for me to approve or disapprove. This is a private organization which provides a service for those seeking heterosexual relationships. Just as there are private organizations which provide on-line dating services for those seeking same-sex relationships.

It’s not as if Linda Carlson, the woman filing the suit, lacks online options to find lesbian love. There are a number of sites which cater to those seeking same-sex romance as well as those seeking more “traditional” forms of intimacy. And there are those sites which cater to those seeking same-sex intimacy (without providing options for those seeking heterosexual romance).

And some sites fill a niche market. JDate serves those who seeking to find Jewish partners. If Miss Carlson wins her case, then someone seeking Christian romance could sue Jdate for not serving them. I would daresay there are sites for Christians, Muslims — and others of a variety of different faiths, backgrounds or interests.

Not only that. If she wins, perhaps an evangelical Christian will sue gay.com demanding that it provide matchmaking services for straight couples.

Twelve years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, Hurley v. Irish-American Gay Group of Boston affirmed the right of an Irish-American group to exclude a gay Irish group from their annual parade. The court held that it violated the First Amendment for Massachusetts to “require private citizens who organize a parade to include among the marchers a group imparting a message the organizers do not wish to convey.

While gay activists were gnashing their teeth over their defeat at the nation’s highest court, I think they were short-sighted in their dismay. Had they won, then ex-gays and anti-gay groups would have had the right to march in Gay Pride parades.

I believe the same issue is at stake here. If Miss Carlson wins, not only will eHarmony have to accomodate those seeking same-sex romance, but gay web-sites will have to accommodate those seeking heterosexual marriage.

The issue here is freedom. It’s a shame that in their zeal to root out all discrimination (or perceived discrimination), some gay activists seek to undermine the freedom of others. Their freedom to speak as they will, to associate with whom they choose and to seek romance with the types of people with whom they hope to find intimacy.

Just as eHarmony should be free to focus on heterosexual romance, so should gay.com be free to promote gay relationships.

Please, Miss Carlson, drop your suit. For you may well find that the result you seek in this case will compromise the freedom of many gay organizations to promote same-sex relationships.

– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

My friend Rick Since has posted an excellent piece on this — which I highly **HIGHLY** recommend. And I expect I’ll have more to say in subsequent posts.

UPDATE: While I think Dan Savage goes a little far is calling eHarmony “anti-gay,” he makes a point similar to my own:

I hardly think eHarmony is worth the trouble of suing. Unless, of course, we’re going to insist that Lesbotronic and Slave4Master and Dudesnude, etc., all start accepting ads from “men seeking women” and “women seeking men.”

(Via HardHobbit in Comment #3.)

In a thoughtful piece, Dale Carpenter says that the suit is a “bad idea” it trivializes the serious phenomenon of anti-gay discrimination. While Dale (unlike yours truly) supports extending anti-discrimination “principles to the private sphere on important matters like employment and housing,” he opposes this lawsuit because it

It doesn’t involve a core concern like employment or housing or even a traditional public accommodation, like discrimination in a restaurant or hospital. It’s also very hard to see how any gay person is really harmed by the policy. Gays aren’t lacking for match-making sites, either general ones or those tailored just to same-sex pairs. And personally, I wouldn’t give my money to eHarmony regardless of what policy they adopt at this point.

Make sure to read the whole thing not only because it’s a good piece, but also because I expect to get back to it in a future post.

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36 Comments

  1. The Rick Since link needs fixing at the moment. (I see an extra character at the end.)

    [ Thanks, ILC, for alerting me to this. Now fixed. –Dan]

    Dan what I came to say: Again I find myself majorly in agreement with you. The suit is bizarre. If you carry its logic to the end, there can be no community-specific web sites or tools anywhere – because all must service all.

    I don’t know too much about eHarmony’s founder, but the little I do know says (1) his method of matching people is research-intensive and (2) he did his research into traditional, monogamous and heterosexual marriages. If the suit succeeded, he would either have to do new research – which could be expensive and pointless, since gays will mostly stay on gay sites anyway – or shut down or do whatever other damages Miss Carlson has requested. It seems petty and hateful. On her part, not his.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 8, 2007 @ 6:22 pm - June 8, 2007

  2. Wanted to let you know, I just removed your link from my website due to the censoring of Ron Paul in your straw poll. As the only viable pro-liberty candidate in my mind, I can not in good conscience direct my members / potential members to any site that won’t allow them to even consider his candidacy.

    Comment by Mike Shipley — June 8, 2007 @ 7:45 pm - June 8, 2007

  3. Here’s Dan Savage’s take from May 31. Not sure what’s happened since then.

    Comment by HardHobbit — June 8, 2007 @ 7:52 pm - June 8, 2007

  4. I couldn’t agree more.

    Everyday we are faced with decisions to make either as individuals or in a business capacity.

    As individuals, we can choose what we want to listen to on the radio or watch on television. If you go into a market and they do not have a specific item that you are looking for, you move on to the next store and perhaps another until you finally find what you are looking for. Do you file suit against a market that does not carry tuna with black beans? (It does exist and I was aghast when I saw it).

    As a gay business owner, I know for a fact that I would not design a web site for the religious right or any terrorist group. Does that mean that I can be sued because I refuse services to groups like that? Can McDonald’s be sued for not serving halal chicken?

    This is a scary proposition for everybody. The suit is indeed frivolus and Ms. Carlson should be sued for abuse of process.

    Comment by John Augello — June 8, 2007 @ 7:58 pm - June 8, 2007

  5. Dan, this is off-topic, but it’s interesting that Isaiah Washington has been fired for being “…a liability”. He did everything he was ordered and more. Is ABC being short-sighted in ignoring the opportunity to feature a proclaimed changed man complete with anti-hate speeches, AIDS benefit appearances, and other window dressing (the added benefit of continually affirming ABC’s gay-friendly image), or was this decision the product of focus groups? Does the media and/or the public place greater moral weight on diversity than on forgiveness and in so doing, cut off its nose to spite its face?

    I won’t be surprised if Washington sues, if only to smear ABC. Perhaps he and Ann Coulter will be touring.

    Comment by HardHobbit — June 8, 2007 @ 9:12 pm - June 8, 2007

  6. sorry, but you’re off on the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. The organizers of that parade were pretty happy to include anyone until irish gays wanted to join. It was only then that it was a privately held parade and according to the organizers wasn’t even for St. Patrick’s Day – it was supposedly in celebration of evacuation Day; the day the British left Boston. I lived in Boston during that time – during one parade, before the Supreme court ruling, the parade did have to include an irish gay group. There is a rather charming picture of a teenaged, pregnant, irish catholic girl giving the finger as the gay group passed by.

    Sorry 1, but your argument doesn’t wash. You paint the plaintiff as a troublemaker because it inconveniences the owner of the business because he won’t accomodate his services to everyone. Pure nonsense. Wonder what his response is if a black man applies to his service and indicates he’s looking for a white wife.

    I find it disheatening that gay people will go out of their way to defend the hatred and homophobia of others because it’s masked as a business propositon.

    Comment by Kevin — June 8, 2007 @ 9:20 pm - June 8, 2007

  7. “The suit is indeed frivolus and Ms. Carlson should be sued for abuse of process.”

    Amen, my brother. She’s suing not to score women but to make a political point, to have her 15 mins. I rather like the British system (and the systems of many other Western nations) of limiting legal frivolity by making the loser pay in order to prevent unfairly victimizing the prevailing opponent, to deter unfounded claims and maneuvers, and for the simple incentive to reach a settlement.

    But then, that’s like asking Congress for term limits.

    Comment by HardHobbit — June 8, 2007 @ 9:22 pm - June 8, 2007

  8. #2 – People post the strangest things. What straw poll? Did I miss it? Did Bruce or Dan “censor” Ron Paul, or was it just a Pajamas Media sidebar thing I’ve heard about? Further, is Ron Paul so great that a sane blogger would care if he didn’t make it into a Pajamas Media straw poll? Is it true or untrue, by the way, that Ron Paul is an ex-David Duke follower? (David Duke being a real racist – NOT a good person that someone hysterical is just out to score cheap points on) So many questions.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 8, 2007 @ 9:25 pm - June 8, 2007

  9. “I find it disheatening that gay people will go out of their way to defend the hatred and homophobia of others because it’s masked as a business propositon.”

    I find it disheartening that gay people will go out of their way to sue anyone who does not include them. And I find it doubly disheartening that there are those who view societal good will as a zero-sum game — that somehow if a website honors and celebrates one type of relationship, that that is to the detriment of all other types. The existence of a website dedicated to heterosexual relationships does not constitute homophobia and vice-versa.

    Comment by HardHobbit — June 8, 2007 @ 9:28 pm - June 8, 2007

  10. I agree. I don’t think you can compel a dating service to provide a service for a particular sexual orientation if that is not their aim.

    Is eHarmony really all that great anyway? Who cares.

    Comment by Chase — June 8, 2007 @ 10:53 pm - June 8, 2007

  11. I find it disheatening that gay people will go out of their way to defend the hatred and homophobia of others because it’s masked as a business propositon.

    I find it more than a bit disheartening that gay people can’t find something better to worry about than the policies of a website that the vast majority of them will never view in the first place.

    Sometimes I wonder if “Minority Report” isn’t the gay left’s idea of utopia.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 9, 2007 @ 12:48 am - June 9, 2007

  12. Who is Mike Shipley, and why should I care?

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — June 9, 2007 @ 1:00 am - June 9, 2007

  13. Just as eHarmony should be free to focus on heterosexual romance, so should gay.com be free to promote gay relationships.

    C’mon, Dan! We’re supposd to celebrate diversity by being exactly the same.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — June 9, 2007 @ 1:02 am - June 9, 2007

  14. I like how competitors to eHarmony are jumping on this. Free markets at work.

    Comment by John in IL — June 9, 2007 @ 1:05 am - June 9, 2007

  15. #14

    I’ve seen that ad, but didn’t know about the suit until now. Now I get it.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — June 9, 2007 @ 1:54 am - June 9, 2007

  16. Do you suppose this has any relation to the suit (or at least I think someone was suing) against the dating service that only took beautiful people? I don’t remember what the name of the service is though.

    And I don’t know but I’d be *very* surprised if eHarmony didn’t allow for interracial matchmaking. But I bet they allow for people to specify same-race. Most personal ads do.

    Maybe this would be a little bit like suing a matchmaking site for allowing customers to racially discriminate? Or maybe not. That would be pretty stupid, too, though.

    Comment by Synova — June 9, 2007 @ 2:41 am - June 9, 2007

  17. Wow, completely agree with your main points.

    But the swipe–seemingly required for posts on here–at “gay activists” is gratuitious. “While gay activists were gnashing their teeth over their defeat at the nation’s highest court, I think they were short-sighted in their dismay. Had they won, then ex-gays and anti-gay groups would have had the right to march in Gay Pride parades.” Gay Irish people were gnashing their teeth… Gay and straight are ‘opposite’ categories. Irish and gay are not.

    Comment by sean — June 9, 2007 @ 5:32 am - June 9, 2007

  18. I think eHarmony is pretty straight forward. On the very first page it asks if you are a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man. That’s it.

    Had it been me, I would have realized that there’s no man seeking a man option and moved on. However, I don’t consider myself the consumate victim. At the same time, CVS Pharmacy doesn’t carry Blue Bell Ice Cream. I know I can get it at Publix, up the road at Walgreens or down the road at WalMart. It would never occur to me to sue CVS just because I can’t get my Mint Chocolate Chip there.

    But considering today’s society, thanks to the liberals and their Tort Law buddies, I can sue WalMart for not carrying Newcastle Brown Ale or Shiner Bock. Long story short, I believe this woman revels in victimhood or she’s a spoiled brat, or both.

    Frankly, I’m thinking about suing Bruce and Dan for not providing enough liberal tampons, like Keogh, to run off. 🙂

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — June 9, 2007 @ 6:18 am - June 9, 2007

  19. BTW Dan,

    A better title would have been Suit Against eHarmony Threatens Common Sense and Intelligence

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — June 9, 2007 @ 6:21 am - June 9, 2007

  20. Neil Clark Warren seems creepy to me and I’m guessing a big time homophobe. But there are plenty of dating services that are straight only, and plenty that are gay only. So yes, the suit is frivolous. But this isn’t the first, and won’t be the last frivolous lawsuit. The real problem is that the justice system allows these lawsuits to happen. Or if there is some merit because of state or federal law, then that’s the real problem.

    As for St. Patrick’s Day parades, the people who run New York’s parade also does not gay Irish groups march under a banner. I don’t know how far the justice system the suits went, but it was always ruled that the homophobic jerk that runs the parade can disallow whatever groups he wants. I guess that’s fine, but I also wonder if the city could also deny the permit. Anyway, as long as the parade disallows gay persons, then I’ll continue to do what Rudy Giuliani did and boycott the parade.

    Comment by Pat — June 9, 2007 @ 10:16 am - June 9, 2007

  21. A better title would have been Suit Against eHarmony Threatens Common Sense and Intelligence

    Word.

    Comment by V the K — June 9, 2007 @ 10:24 am - June 9, 2007

  22. But this isn’t the first, and won’t be the last frivolous lawsuit. The real problem is that the justice system allows these lawsuits to happen.

    Pat, I agree.

    Anyway, as long as the parade disallows gay persons, then I’ll continue to do what Rudy Giuliani did and boycott the parade.

    Another example of personal freedom, or “the market at work”. Again I agree.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 9, 2007 @ 10:24 am - June 9, 2007

  23. John in IL, good ad, great slogan. Makes one wonder about Carlson’s real motivations. Is she an investor in a competitor or in eHarmony, who just might need a bit of publicity? I would think a straights only site just might benefit from this kind of ‘negative’ press.

    Then again, she might just be some self-loathing gay person with too much time on her hands. Or a young lawyer’s wet dream.

    Comment by HardHobbit — June 9, 2007 @ 12:18 pm - June 9, 2007

  24. I have never used a dating service, but I sort of view dating services as gearing their services towards a niche market anyway.

    The suit sounds like it is more of an attempt to smack eharmony than any real desire for their services.

    Comment by just me — June 9, 2007 @ 10:40 pm - June 9, 2007

  25. As for St. Patrick’s Day parades, the people who run New York’s parade also does not gay Irish groups march under a banner. I don’t know how far the justice system the suits went, but it was always ruled that the homophobic jerk that runs the parade can disallow whatever groups he wants. I guess that’s fine, but I also wonder if the city could also deny the permit. Anyway, as long as the parade disallows gay persons, then I’ll continue to do what Rudy Giuliani did and boycott the parade.

    The permit issue I don’t get either. It’s always been granted to the papist Ancient Order of Hibernians. Why couldn’t it be granted to the United Loyal Orange Lodge in New York instead? It would be nice to see orange instead of green on St. Patrick for a change. Or has the order monopolized on the permits over a century ago?

    Seriously though, the city should have a more neutral organization to run the parade. Heck, even the gay Irish organizations should try acquiring it. As for the Hibernians, I wish them the same fate that struck the Know Nothings.

    Comment by Xeno — June 9, 2007 @ 11:49 pm - June 9, 2007

  26. I heard of this lawsuit & said “Oh no, here we go again.” Just like that printer case way back, this woman (in the Bay area no less) has a plethora of same-sex dating service websites to choose from. She’s just picking a fight where there doesn’t need to be one. Other dating services (eHarmony’s competitors) are starting to promote that they provide same-sex services as well. Ah, capitalism at work.
    On the St. Patrick’s Day parade issue, same thing. The organizers had every right to exclude the gay group. There is an alternative parade in Cambridge that welcomes gay people. Finally to #6 (Kevin) just so you know that I am well aware of the reactions that the gays provoked in 1992. I went to the parade in Southie in 2006 & it’s not the homophobic bastion it once was. People everywhere were signing petitions to keep same-sex marriage legal.

    Comment by Jimbo — June 11, 2007 @ 12:00 pm - June 11, 2007

  27. ***In short, let me say that I oppose this suit and hope the judge dismisses it. While I don’t approve of this web-site’s only offering services to individuals seeking romantic relationships with a member of the opposite sex, it’s not really for me to approve or disapprove. This is a private organization which provides a service for those seeking heterosexual relationships. Just as there are private organizations which provide on-line dating services for those seeking same-sex relationships.***

    ’nuff said

    Comment by LesbianNeoCon — June 11, 2007 @ 3:07 pm - June 11, 2007

  28. I’m waiting for a straight person to sue gay.com or any other same-sex dating website because they don’t offer opposite-sex options.

    Let’s see how fast the GayLibLeft starts to squeal THEN.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — June 13, 2007 @ 1:47 pm - June 13, 2007

  29. im curious what exactly makes everyone say that this lawsuit is frivilous. It is clearly not and eHarmony and gay.com are both clearly breaking California state law, no business or organization acting as a business may discriminate persons from participating based on sexual orientation nor a plethora of other labels such as race, religion, polical party, philoshophical beliefs, veteran status, pregnancy, marital status, sex, gender, religion, age disability, etc etc they just cant do it in california. They are also violating the universal declaration of human rights which makes people adults at age 18, disallowing 18-21 year olds is a violation of human rights. its also illegal in california. scratch the comment about gay.com i just tried to sign up as a straight white man seeking women and they allow it MAJOR KUDOS FOR GAY.COM i think all websites which do business in the state of caliofnia should be forced to comply with the law we have laws for a reason they should but do not have to in a state like texas which does not offer protection for sexual orientation.

    Comment by Dan — June 23, 2007 @ 4:48 am - June 23, 2007

  30. […] had been previously sued by a lesbian looking to force the company to match her up with another woman and by a married man who sought to […]

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  31. Why do you all care so much that the government, of all entities, recognizes your union?

    Comment by jerome levinns — November 20, 2008 @ 1:15 am - November 20, 2008

  32. […] services its founder wished to provide.  Commenting on a similar suit well over a year ago, I wrote: The issue here is freedom. It’s a shame that in their zeal to root out all discrimination (or […]

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  33. […] had been previously sued by a lesbian looking to force the company to match her up with another woman and by a married man who sought to […]

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  34. […] had been previously sued by a *** looking to force the company to match her up with another woman and by a married man who sought to […]

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  35. […] for eHarmony. They’re an online, Christian Targeted dating website. In 2007 they were sued by a lesbian trying to make them legally bound to match her up with a woman. Then they were sued by a married […]

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