eHarmony sued for anti-gay discrimination

The online dating service was founded by an evangelical and had close early ties to the lead religious right activist organization Focus on the Family. And now they’re being sued for excluding gays. I suspect the suit is based on local public accommodations laws, which include sexual orientation in numerous places around the country (i.e., you aren’t allowed to turn away customers just because they’re black, women, etc.) I remember when we were taking on Sandals, the previously virulently anti-gay Caribbean resort. An ACLU laywer at the time told me that they could potentially be held liable under a public accommodations suit in any city in which they seek customers so long as the city (or state) includes sexual orientation in its public accommodations law. And I can’t wait for the evangelicals to try to argue that their dating service is really a church.

Actually, I watched eHarmmony’s spokesman on CNN. He’s arguing that their dating service is useless to gays because they’ve only done research on heterosexual dating and matching, so when gays answer their extensive dating survey they won’t be able to match them to an appropriate partner. Uh, that’s kind of the point of the entire lawsuit. You decided to only do research on straight couples because you only wanted to offer the service to straight couples. That’s like a store turning away blacks and saying, “but judge, you don’t understand, when we built the store we built it for whites – get it?”

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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