eHarmony, the web based matchmaking service has settled a three year long court case with the New Jersey Attorney General, who had charged the company with discrimination, as it had heretofore refused to accept same-sex matching. eharmony will offer the service titled “Compatible Partners” at the end of the first quarter next year. I would have to assume that if other similar matchmaking sites do not currently offer GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer…yes this is really what they call themselves) matchmaking, they will soon.
An unintended consequence of this will be a sharp ramp up of competition for what ever sites may have existed prior to this settlement that serves the GLBTQ community. A classic example of a “cause” lawsuit that will result in harm to whatever providers of services pre-existed. [Note: I have not bothered to look and see what sites might fall into this category, but it is almost unimaginable that they do not exist.]
My first reaction was what a shame for the founder of eHarmony, Neil Clark Warren, who holds an M.Div. degree from a Christian seminary, who then sought a PhD in psychology. Warren’s rise to notoriety came from an association with Focus On The Family which published his first several books, and helped to advance some of his thoughts through its radio programs. Warren in turn advertised his eHarmony service via Focus On The Family media.
However, Warren evidently sought a greater audience and bought back rights to his books and announced that his eHarmony site was intended to reach the whole world, with people of different spiritual backgrounds, political philosophies and races. eharmony is a business, and he changed his business model. I am completely okay with that.
What is most remarkable about this court case is that his company fought the New Jersey AG in the first place. Since Warren seems to be in it more for the buck, er ah, for the altruistic reason of serving lonely singles irrespective of their philosophies, rather than just Christians, I wonder why he was not already offering a service to GLBTQ’s?
In any event, it looks like he will continue to be successful in reaching the world for matchmaking services. And maybe the unstated back story here, is that by settling a three year long lawsuit, Warren can make it appear that he was “FORCED” to serve the GLBTQ market, against his will. Just a suspicion.