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Eharmony Sue for Sexual Orientation Discrimination:

Eharmony.com, the most profitable on-line dating service, is being sued under California law for discrimination based on sexual orientation for failing to include "women seeking women" or "men seeking men" categories on its website. Eharmony, for its part, claims that its services are based on research regarding what makes heterosexuals compatible, and because it has no similar research available for homosexuals, it does not provide services to them. Complicating matters is the fact that Eharmony's founder is an evangelical Christian with apparent ties to Focus on the Family.

The media reports I've found don't mention what is the underlying statutory basis for the lawsuit. I would imagine, however, that as an initial matter, the plaintiff will have to prove that this is indeed discrimination based on sexual orientation. Eharmony does not technically prevent gays and lesbians from using its services; rather, it provides services for people looking for partners of the opposite sex. Assumedly, any self-identified homosexual who decided to look for an opposite sex partner would be able to use Eharmony's services. Is this a distinction without a difference? I'm not so sure. I wouldn't think that a strip club featuring nude females could be sued for sexual orientation discrimination simply because few gay men would be interested in utilizing its services. On the other hand, if the club excluded gay men who did wish to ogle nude women (or hang out with men who did), that would clearly be discrimination based on sexual orientation.

If a court held that Eharmony's policy was nevertheless sexual orientation discrimination because in practice Eharmony has chosen to serve only a heterosexual clientele (and this would depend, I should think, on the relevant statutory language and how courts have intepreted it), Eharmony would still have the defense that its dating system (which, I understand, involves detailed questionaires) is based on heterosexual-specific compatibility research.

Finally, notwithstanding the recent Australian decision permitting the establishment of a gays-only bar, I wonder whether a favorable outcome for the Eharmony plaintiff would serve the interests of gays. If a dating site that serves only heterosexuals is guilty of sexual orientatation discrimination, so would a dating site that serves only homosexuals. Minorities, sexual and otherwise, tend to prize services specifically tailored toward them, and it woudl seem counterproductive to force Eharmony to serve people serving same-sex partners if the result was to inhibit or prohibit services specifically geared (perhaps with underlying research on compatibility) to such people.

As as aside, in You Can't Say That!, I discuss an Australian decision forbidding the establishment of a Jewish-only dating service. The decision was later overturned, but only because the owner of the service was able to present expert testimony about the "need" for such a service in a minority community. Of course, my view is that short of prohibiting fraud, the government shouldn't be in the business of regulating dating services, period.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Trivializing antidiscrimination law:
  2. Internet Dating Websites and Institutional Diversity:
  3. Eharmony Sue for Sexual Orientation Discrimination:
plunge (mail):
This seems like a lawsuit that homosexuals concerned about social justice and acceptance should want to see get lost, mostly because it's just plain embarrassing.

I think eharmony's defense is pretty good too, by the way. They claim simply that they do not have expertise in matching gay relationships, which may require different expertise. Seems plausible enough.
6.1.2007 12:04am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Aha! I knew it. Every time I've seen one of those E-Harmony commercials with "Dr. Neil Clark Warren" the "founder" of e-harmony I've said to myself that he looks like a complete, total, 100% fundamental evangelical christian. I'm being completely serious here. There is a look. It's in the eyes mostly. But until now I've never had confirmation of this fact. I can pick an evangelical christian out of a lineup 9 times out of 10 just by looking at their face. I'm happy to have confirmation on Neil Clark Warren because I've been wondering if my evangelical-radar was correct. He's probably the most evangelical looking guy I've ever seen, though, so I was 99% certain.

There is no expertise in matching people. One person says they like action films, so they match you with other people who like action films. Ditto with music types, life aspirations, etc. Just as applicable to homosexuals as it is (if at all) to heterosexuals. The "we don't have experience with matching homosexuals" is a plausible sounding but totally b.s. excuse for discrimination.
6.1.2007 12:46am
Cornellian (mail):
I wonder how well those arguments would hold up if eHarmony was a whites only dating service and their defense was simply that they had chosen to cater to the white market (more money on average to spend on dating services) and their questionnaires were based on culturally specific research not applicable to non-white communities. They don't technically prohibit non-whites from using the service, they just don't make any accommodation for them, e.g. all their advertising depicts only white people, there's no box on the form to indicate race etc.

Would you find the defense convincing here? I'm not expressing any opinion about the lawsuit, just wondering how those arguments would like in a different context.
6.1.2007 12:53am
Dave N (mail):
I am not sure how Neil Clark Warren's religious affiliation is relevant--other than as code for liberals to say, "Oh, look,those radical Christians are showing that they hate gays."

Eharmony has a business model that promotes heterosexual relationships. This is not discrimination--and anyone who wants to set up a website for homosexual relationships is certainly free to do so.
6.1.2007 12:59am
neurodoc:
As as aside, in You Can't Say That!, I discuss an Australian decision forbidding the establishment of a Jewish-only dating service. The decision was later overturned, but only because the owner of the service was able to present expert testimony about the "need" for such a service in a minority community.
That's Australia, not the USofA. (Anybody ever see a cassowary strutting about freely in this country; a kangaroo bounding about in our wild; an estuary crocodile ready to eat the unwary beachcomber; duck-billed platypi in our waterways; etc.)

Has J-Date, the online dating service that aims to match up Jewish singles in this country, faced legal challenges like those faced by its counterpart in OZ? Perhaps if EHarmony does down, J-Date and similarly "restricted" dating services willhave reason to worry, but it hasn't happened yet.

BTW, what exactly does "sexual orientation" encompass? Might this case answer that question. If homosexual/lesbian must be accommodated with "men seeking men" and "women seeking women," how about all the other permutations and combinations that might be imagined, and those that some of us can't imagine? Sadists seeking masochists, is that a "sexual orientation"? Fetishists? "Combinations" like "Jewish masochists seeking Gentile sadists" (I don't is a call for the opposite pairing). ...OK, point made?
6.1.2007 12:59am
Henri Le Compte (mail):
David:
I had to laugh when I read this--"Of course, my view is that short of prohibiting fraud, the government shouldn't be in the business of regulating dating services, period."

Boy, is that ever a vanishing attitude! Don't you know that there is nothing that isn't the government's business to regulate?
6.1.2007 1:00am
Dave N (mail):
Cornellian, I am not sure how your hypothetical holds. If some dating service used that model, it would only be discriminatory if it expressly excluded minorities.

If I ran a barber shop, and in my front window I showed only pictures of "white" hairstyles with white models, would I be discriminating against blacks who might feel uncomfortable entering my shop?

Likewise, if I ran a Vietnamese dating service, catering to Vietnamese-Americans by having my website only in Vietnamese, I do not think I would be discriminating against everyone else. Anyone who wanted could visit my website--but their inability to read Vietnamese would be a major handicap.
6.1.2007 1:12am
Tek Jansen:
neurodoc: I don't think jdate discriminates based on religion. I've met other non-Jewish guys (like myself) through jdate.
6.1.2007 1:13am
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Well, on to the topic at hand.

Neurodoc makes a good point. If you open a "dating" agency, you don't get to set any limits on the service you provide. If you try, you will have to "discriminate" against one group or another of applicants.

The same is true of any social organization of any kind. If some people are in, then some people must be kept out. If those excluded people are a "protected" group, then you are screwed. Period.

For instance, isn't there a Christian dating service called something like "Equally Yolked," or something like that? They advertise on the radio out here. How can they do that? I think because there is no religion that is automatically a part of a "protected" group. Jews are about the closest there is, but they are unlikely to insist on being able to join a Christian dating service.

I'm not so sure that a strip bar couldn't be successfully sued for not offering gay oriented dancers. It seems absurd, but there is a way of framing the debate that would make anything else seem like descrimination. Look at the thread above for examples.
6.1.2007 1:26am
plunge (mail):
"There is no expertise in matching people. One person says they like action films, so they match you with other people who like action films. Ditto with music types, life aspirations, etc. Just as applicable to homosexuals as it is (if at all) to heterosexuals."

But that's not the sort of simple service they provide, in fact. They claim that they have some fancy-doodle equations based on a deep insight and understanding into what makes a good relationship blah blah blah. Sounds like a heap of BS to me, but I don't see any reason to think that they don't believe it, and yeah, it may NOT be fine tuned for homosexuals (maybe they have different sun sign calculations or some other nonsense).

And heck, isn't the argument that a bunch of evangelicals who don't like homosexuality would be bad at matching them together for happy relationships pretty damn plausible? Would YOU want the help of a bunch of people who don't like your lifestyle to find a partner for you?

It's not like anyone is stopping anyone from forming their own dating service for homosexuals... and indeed, people already have. Problem solved as far as I am concerned. I don't LIKE discrimination, but as far as I am concerned, people offering a service and barring me does absolutely ZERO to harm me, and probably helps me a small bit by reducing prices for that service in general.

And as for "all white" dating services, and all sorts of other specialties, are you freakin serious? They already exist, and exist in large numbers.

http://www.blacksingles.com/index.html
6.1.2007 1:31am
George Weiss (mail):
Cornellian

yes it would be convincing..there are many services that are for jewish singles...is that discrimination?

are all male pornographic pictures discriminatory against men?

is it discrimination when a doctor whos a gynecologist wont see a man because hes not in that field or 'hasnt done the reaserch'

all these cases involve providing a service that isnt compatible with a certain group..not a service that actively excludes such a group

granted..such a distinction could be abused..but its also an abuse of law not to make the distinction at all
6.1.2007 1:39am
ReaderY:
Let me get this straight...On the one hand we are told that it is "affirmative action" for a same-sex business to remain same-sex on grounds it caters to a clientele that is more comfortable in a same-sex environment, and on the other hand, we are told that a business' efforts to provide an gender-integrated environment constitutes discrimination against those who prefer a same-sex business environment.

If any of the dates move across state lines, this is an interstate commerce business no less regulalable than any other interstate commerce business.
6.1.2007 2:00am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
ReaderY

Of course there is a double standard. It is called politcal correctness. It is fine to discriminate against a dominant group, but not in favor of them. Thus, you can have women's colleges but not men's colleges, gay bars but not straight bars, etc.
6.1.2007 2:27am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
This has nothing to do with the federal government or the ICC...
6.1.2007 2:33am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

This has nothing to do with the federal government or the ICC...


Not yet.
6.1.2007 2:35am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Aha! I knew it. Every time I've seen one of those E-Harmony commercials with "Dr. Neil Clark Warren" the "founder" of e-harmony I've said to myself that he looks like a complete, total, 100% fundamental evangelical christian. I'm being completely serious here. There is a look. It's in the eyes mostly.


Yes it's the look of someone who's happy and well-adjusted. Given what you must see every day in the mirror, it's not surprising that it seems strange to you.
6.1.2007 2:39am
Ramza:
Just have to point out some irony for lawsuits love company (other lawsuits).

E-Harmony not allowing homosexual matches is nothing new and warren has talked about not having enough research for years. People have complained or called him a homophobic evangelical christian for years due to this.

Chemistry.com (part of Match.com) has a similar website to E-Harmony. Recently Chemistry.com has been doing some tv-ads such as this one.

Youtube about E-harmony rejecting gays

Youtube about E-Harmony rejecting other people 1

Youtube about E-Harmony rejecting other people 2

Well now E-Harmony is sueing over the ads
Link
6.1.2007 2:59am
Crunchy Frog:
This lawsuit makes about as much sense as the one a few years back where a Burger King franchise in Berkeley was sued for not having a veggie burger on the menu...
6.1.2007 3:29am
JKS (mail):
Bernstein's tirade here is so biased... The status/conduct distinction he makes is so tired and discredited, it hardly has any bite anywhere. (Ie, the military and dont ask dont tell) When the website is about relationship-seeking, there clearly is no distinction. I love when a free speech "champion" says that its not discriminating against gays if it allows gays, as long as they dont "act gay". Eharmony's claim is premised on the idea that there are differneces in what makes homosexual couples compatible and heterosexual couples compatible. In a jurisdiction like California that protects sexual orientation, they have the burden of showing thats true. In reality, they have absolutely no evidence to show that. I agree, the Focus on the Family connection is not in and of itself a problem. However, it supports a deduction of pretext (if not legally, logically), combined with the lack of any support for their "natural differences" claim.
6.1.2007 3:29am
JKS (mail):
Oh, and the claim here that men's only colleges are illegal but women's only colleges are not is completely unfounded. See Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, which held against a women's only nursing program.

On the private frontier, both all-male and all-female institutions exist. See Deep Springs College, Hampden-Sydney College. Decreased Demand for all-male institutions is has been the death knell for them- not law.
6.1.2007 3:33am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
JKS, when you accuse someone of launching a tirade, i recommend you use more paragraph breaks, and refrain from double-posting -- on account of the whole "apparent hypocrisy" thing.
6.1.2007 3:52am
Guest12345:
I love when a free speech "champion" says that its not discriminating against gays if it allows gays, as long as they dont "act gay". Eharmony's claim is premised on the idea that there are differneces in what makes homosexual couples compatible and heterosexual couples compatible.


There is a rather obvious and fundamental difference in what makes a compatible gay couple and what makes a compatible straight couple. If you can't see it, then you should probably stay out of the discussion.

I think it is totally legit for match.com to not want to attempt to pair up gay individuals if they don't think they can do it with some proficiency.
6.1.2007 4:29am
Guest12345:
They don't technically prohibit non-whites from using the service, they just don't make any accommodation for them, e.g. all their advertising depicts only white people, there's no box on the form to indicate race etc.


I know you are talking more general here, but why would anyone have to provide a box to indicate race? If the dating service didn't think that race was relevant to a successful pairing they should not have to provide a service that allowed the results to be filtered by race.
6.1.2007 4:32am
Bravo:
I think the better analogy is to a cosmetics company that only offers makeup for whites. No blacks (not even relatively light-skinned blacks) would want to purchase their products because there is not a good nexus or fit.

I think that's better than the strip club analogy. After all, it is common for lesbians to go to regular strip clubs. So strip clubs don't really exclude gays, even in practice.

If my analogy is the better one, then I think the question becomes, "Is it okay for me to provide only goods and services that Blacks 'happen' to not demand? And may I refuse to provide goods and services that only Blacks 'happen' to want?"

It's hard to think of examples, but I think makeup is a good one. Can a barber refuse to do afros? The merchant is probably okay, because those goods/services do require special knowledge. On the other hand, the point is that all makeup/haircuts require expertise, and if merchants are going to acquire and offer expertise that whites want, then they have to acquire and offer expertise that blacks want. "What whites want" and "what blacks want" may or may not overlap. It's kind of a de jure/de facto issue -- an all-white cosmetics company is probably off the hook because it is not intentionally discriminating against Blacks, even though in practice it is all-white and even though intent may be inferred from its failure to acquire the expertise to service Blacks.

Here's where it gets tricky: What about barbers who refuse to do cornrows? Lots of whites have them. But my sense is that the vast majority of cornrows consumers are black. A barber who doesn't want black people in his store might refuse to do (or refuse to learn how to do) cornrows. And because cornrows require special expertise, he can always hide behind that Objective Reason. Action/inaction, etc. So now the de jure/de facto issue reappears in a slightly different format.

The closest we've seen in real life is Cristal refusing to sell to rappers because they think the gangsta culture degrades their fancy brand name. There are two purportedly objective justifications: (1) money -- their only intent is to protect the brand, and (2) race neutrality -- they won't sell to any rappers, whether black or white. Even if both of those are true, the fact is that in real life it's mostly Blacks that are affected. And that's why they faced accusations of racism.

Can pharmaceutical companies refuse to develop drugs for diseases that disproportionately affect Blacks if they already develop drugs for similar, race-neutral diseases? Same excuses: Those drugs are too expensive to develop; Blacks aren't the only ones who get sickle-cell anemia.

Could Ollie's Barbeque have avoided trouble while still keeping out Blacks by simply taking _______ off the menu?
6.1.2007 4:33am
Brian K (mail):
Bravo,

your missing a distinction between not catering equally to different group and not catering to one group at all. To use your cosmetic example it is the difference between only making makeup in light skin tones and refusing to sell any make up to blacks. the former still allows everyone to buy the product even if it isn't specifically designed with them in mind. the latter bars a group from buying the cosmetics even if it wanted to (e.g. to dress up as a clown)
6.1.2007 5:25am
Bravo:
Brian K,

You still have to give an account of why that distinction makes a difference. That's what the de jure/de facto debate is about.

Why does it matter that blacks can buy white makeup if they want? And why doesn't it matter that blacks can't buy black makeup because nobody makes it?

The de jure route is one way to go, but there's nothing wrong with telling merchants that if you're going to sell white makeup, you have to sell black makeup too (and if you don't want to sell black makeup, then you can leave the industry -- selling black makeup is a plain old cost of doing business).

De jure and de facto are both legitimate. The concept of equality does not require one or the other. The story of how de jure was elevated to neutral objective status is The story of American constitutional law.
6.1.2007 5:59am
Brian K (mail):
Bravo,

for something to be discriminatory it has to be done as a result of a person's characteristic or membership of a group. By this I mean it is only discrimination to disadvantage a black person because they are black.


Why does it matter that blacks can buy white makeup if they want? And why doesn't it matter that blacks can't buy black makeup because nobody makes it?

It only matters insofar as the reason why blacks can't buy makeup or why no one makes it. Are no companies making cosmetics for blacks because they refuse to sell products to blacks or because blacks wear little to no makeup in comparison to non-blacks? This is why pharm companies aren't sued for not developmental treatments for diseases that only occur in africa. They aren't developing drugs because it only affects black people, but because there is no profit in it.

The distinction is in the rationale behind the actions, even if there is no practical difference (i.e. blacks don't have cosmetics in either case).
6.1.2007 6:20am
Melchior Sternfels (mail) (www):

There is no expertise in matching people. One person says they like action films, so they match you with other people who like action films. Ditto with music types, life aspirations, etc.

I think there's a lot more to compatibility than shared interests. I take it that BruceM's assertion is in need of supporting arguments.
6.1.2007 11:16am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
You know? The fact that people seem to think this is a serious topic of discussion and not a "stupid lawsuit" factoid for morning radio frightens me... maybe we've gone further down the PC road than I thought.

Here's a question for bravo: SHOULD barbers be sued for not doing cornrows?
6.1.2007 11:26am
Tocqueville:
Before long, in this brave new world, if you are not personally engaging in homosexual activity yourself you will run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.
6.1.2007 11:34am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
eHarmony also discrimintes in its advertizing and marketing against casual hook-ups. It targets customers seeking marriage (although they say 'a relationship'). Fornicators need not apply. Looks like another loawsuit.
6.1.2007 11:47am
pete (mail) (www):
I have never been to the Eharmmony website, but I read Warren's earlier book "Finding the Love of Your Life" when my wife and I were going through premarital counseling and I thought it gave very good advice, especially for those not in a serious relationship already. His basic theory is that a key to having a healthy marriage is knowing what your values are and then finding someone compatable with them. If you value going to church each Sunday morning, if you value having a lot of kids or no kids, if you value going on fancy vacations to Europe each summer, your marriage will be healtier if you find a person who shares or is at least ok with your values. My favorite part of the book is his list of the 50 things spouses fight about most which includes things like whether to have pets, what temperature to keep the house, and whether you visit family or do something else on vacations. It is written from a Christian perspective, but the advice is pretty much universal.

I had a friend who tried the eharmony site and was disappointed with the results since the first person it set him up with was someone who matched on paper (same college, age, race, religion, background, income), but he already knew her and did not get along with her. The lawsuit seems pretty lame since the website is not denying a service, but only not providing the particular service they want. The internet is a big place and I am sure there are plenty of other sites that provide exactly the service the plaintiffs are looking for.
6.1.2007 12:20pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
There is no expertise in matching people. One person says they like action films, so they match you with other people who like action films. Ditto with music types, life aspirations, etc.


I think there's a lot more to compatibility than shared interests. I take it that BruceM's assertion is in need of supporting arguments.


I've probably heard dozens of radio spots for Eharmony and one of the hooks for their services are the "twenty-nine dimensions of compatibility" rather than just giving you a "picture and a profile." In one of their spots that Michael Medved did, he actually mocked services that matched up people based on whether they liked going to the movies, long walks on the beach, etc. They also promote their services based on how many people use their services to meet someone that they eventually marry and if the numbers are legitimate (given the animosity some people have towards them, I'd imagine we'd hear if they were fabricated or exaggerated), their model seems to be working.
6.1.2007 12:26pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
It is written from a Christian perspective, but the advice is pretty much universal.


I haven't read any of Dr. Warren's stuff but I'd heard that he was at some point (may still is) affiliated with "Focus on their Family." My parents had most of Dr. Dobson's books on marriage and child rearing which I actually read as a kid (voracious reader in a small town, no library, pre-internet) and based on what I'd read that's pretty much true of their material. They do approach things from a biblical-centric perspective but the advice they give works pretty well for most people regardless of their religious beliefs.
6.1.2007 12:34pm
Bravo:
Brian K, why is that the correct definition? how do you account for subconscious or unconscious racism?

Daniel Chapman, it would depend on the facts.
6.1.2007 12:39pm
Daniel950:
The fact that people seem to think this is a serious topic of discussion and not a "stupid lawsuit" factoid for morning radio frightens me... maybe we've gone further down the PC road than I thought.


It doesn't surprise me at all. Just realize that right now, today, disagreeing with homosexuality in America is punished as a felony with no recourse for bail. Do you seriously think there are limits to which people will not be persecuted for failing to uphold the gay agenda?
6.1.2007 1:49pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Fair enough... under what facts do you think a barber should be sued for not doing cornrows?
6.1.2007 1:52pm
r78:

Eharmony has a business model that promotes heterosexual relationships. This is not discrimination—and anyone who wants to set up a website for homosexual relationships is certainly free to do so.

Eharmony has a business model that promotes white relationships. This is not discrimination—and anyone who wants to set up a website for negro relationships is certainly free to do so.
6.1.2007 2:17pm
Guest12345:
Eharmony has a business model that promotes white relationships. This is not discrimination—and anyone who wants to set up a website for negro relationships is certainly free to do so.


This is blatantly untrue. Now I know your point is to try to show a flaw in the quoted comment, but in attempting to do so you have posted a flat out falsehood.

Eharmony put their methodology together based upon studying married heterosexual couples. Their methods can only be rigorously applied to people who want to be married heterosexual couples.

I'm not saying that homosexual couples are not interested in long term relationships, but eharmony is fully justified in not providing such a service.
6.1.2007 2:37pm
Truth Seeker:
It is really disheartening to realize that there are people who think the government should use its police power to force barbers to do certain hairstyles, force drug companies to develop products that they don't feel there is a large enough market for, force stores to carry makeup that they don't have enough customers for.

Just because public accomodations like restaurants and hotels should not be able to turn people away because of their skin color does not mean that every business should be forced to cater to every niche market. There's a big difference between equality and tyranny. The left really wants us to have a police state where we all do what the government tells us to do. Seems like it's time for another revolution...
6.1.2007 3:11pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Thorley Winston, are you saying religiouis people in general, and/or evangelical christians in particular, are happy and well-adjusted? Yeah right.

Show me ten pictures of random people's faces, some of whom are evangelical christians, and I will tell you which ones are the evangelicals with a 90% accuracy or better. Most of the time I just have to look at their eyes. Whether they are smiling or not has absolutely nothing to do with it (and of course Warren is going to be smiling and sounding happy and positive in his commercials advertising his online dating service).
6.1.2007 3:24pm
Brian K (mail):
Bravo,


why is that the correct definition?

What alternate definition do you propose? The definition I used seems to be the most common one used.


how do you account for subconscious or unconscious racism?

Depends on the surrounding facts.
6.1.2007 4:14pm
Jamie (mail):
As a gay teenager (who also happens to be a Republican), I find this lawsuit to be absurd and a total waste of time. It also cheapens legitimate torts made on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

I run an online gay-straight group, which full of some very, very liberal people. But the overwhelming consensus was that this lawsuit was a complete waste of time.

http://community.livejournal.com/gsa_lj/807736.html
6.1.2007 4:44pm
Jake L (mail):
I oppose this lawsuit wholeheartedly (and I'm gay, just like the poster before me.) I take the libertarian position that a private organization should be able to discriminate against any group they like, so long as they're a truly private organization receiving no endorsement or funding from the government.

THat said, though, the idea that eharmony isn't discriminating against gays is ridiculous. To me, it's analogous to someone offering a scholarship only to people who have accepted Jesus as their personal savior, and then insisting that they're not limiting the scholarship to Christians only - because ANYONE who accepts Christ as their savior is eligible, regardless of their religion.
6.1.2007 9:00pm
Bravo:
Truth Seeker,

Are you really that much of a doctrinalist? Do you really think that hotels and restaurants should be subject to this kind of regulation but that drug companies should not?

What's the distinction? You need food and shelter to live? You also need medicine.

The justification for treating common carriers differently was because they are "businesses affected with a public interest." Once you open the door and allow hotels and restaurants to be regulated, the game is over.

Besides, barbers and drug companies and every other kind of business is regulated in a bunch of ways which we usually feel are innocuous. I think you have to argue for why this kind of regulation is not innocuous. And I don't think you can do that without Lochnerizing.
6.1.2007 9:51pm
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
BruceM: There is no expertise in matching people. One person says they like action films, so they match you with other people who like action films. Ditto with music types, life aspirations, etc. Just as applicable to homosexuals as it is (if at all) to heterosexuals. The "we don't have experience with matching homosexuals" is a plausible sounding but totally b.s. excuse for discrimination.

Speaking as someone who has actually used eHarmony - (and gotten married to a match from it), I suppose you could be farther from the truth, but it would be by accident.

There is a signifigant difference between what eHarmony does and any other website I was a member of - which was a fair bit of them. (Yahoo, Match.com, Lavalife).

You may not like Warren's philosophy (I disagree with a fair bit of it myself), but his methods are based on his research, experience and said philosophy, and they're not as simple as the other site's "Action or Romance" movie checkboxes. (match.com was in the middle of phasing in a similar "personality match" system as I was leaving the online personals scene.)

Your sneering dismissal of the defense really diminishes you for your ignorance, instead of the horribly bigoted eharmony that you attempt to portray.

Could eharmony successfully do the same sort of matching that Warren spent years researching merely because a judge/jury/legislature said they had to? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there would be another lawsuit immediately following about the lacks of that program...
6.2.2007 2:23am
r78:
<blockquote>
Eharmony put their methodology together based upon studying married heterosexual couples. Their methods can only be rigorously applied to people who want to be married heterosexual couples.
</blockquote>
Eharmony put their methodology together based upon studying white couples. Their methods can only be rigorously applied to people who want to be married white couples.
6.2.2007 2:28am
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
Eharmony has a business model that promotes white relationships.

This seems surprising to me based upon the matches that eHarmony suggested for me, several Indian women, about 5 or 6 black women.... fair amount of Asian women...
6.2.2007 2:31am
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
r78:

Their methods can only be rigorously applied to people who want to be married white couples.

My wife asks, "So the things Warren says that makes people compatible only apply to white marriages?"
6.2.2007 2:33am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Unix-Jedi, so eharmony's matching focuses on "personalities" and that's somehow different than a checkbox for Action or Comedy movies? I don't buy it for a second. That's just their marketing. Their checkboxes are for more ephemeral topics like whether it's important for you to be on time to meetings or whether it's okay to be a little late. Personality. Yeah right. Same A-B questions which will be tabulated and will be corresponded with persons of the opposite sex who have the same or similar tabulations. Congrats on your marriage, but it was nothing more than A-B'ing personality traits and matching with someone similar. If Warren's system is different because Warren has realized that people's tastes in movies have nothing to do with successful marriages then more power to him. But that doesn't make his "system" any more special.

I'm somewhat surprised nobody has challenged me to pick up evangelical christians from a photo lineup. I guess everyone concedes that they do, in fact, have a certain "look" to them that's easy to spot.
6.2.2007 3:31pm
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
BruceM:

I don't buy it for a second. That's just their marketing.

Well, you can certainly in all ignorance reject it, but that means I'll be forced to consider you an "idiot".

I've tried just about every personals site out there, and eHarmony was drastically different. (I was a skeptic originally, and there were parts I did not like, but Warren is telling the truth about there being a difference.

Sneer if you want, but I'm speaking from personal experience. How long were you an eHarmony member?

Their checkboxes are for more ephemeral topics like whether it's important for you to be on time to meetings or whether it's okay to be a little late.

Funny, the wife and I don't recall any of that. When did you participate again? It's possible they changed before or after I was a member.

Congrats on your marriage, but it was nothing more than A-B'ing personality traits and matching with someone similar.

Thanks. One might find it funny that the other sites we were also members of concurrently didn't lead to our introduction. But that would damage your anti-Christian bashing. (Disclaimer: neither I or my wife are religious). You're arguing from total and utter ignorance, and when I, with personal experience tell you that you're wrong, you insist that I don't know what I'm talking about.

I'm somewhat surprised nobody has challenged me

If you were more perceptive (or open to introspection), I might suggest that this could be because people are perceiving that it wouldn't be worth bothering with. Given your reaction to me, you'd simply refuse to believe the answers, and insist that you were right, and the line-up maker wrong as to the real Christians. "No, he's not a true believer, I don't care how much he 'worships'. I don't buy it for a second." "He really believes, even if he never goes to church, he's got the Look!"
6.2.2007 3:49pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I'm surprised you still haven't taken me up on my challenge to provide a set of facts under which you think it would be proper to force a barber to learn how to do cornrows...
6.2.2007 8:54pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Are you really that much of a doctrinalist? Do you really think that hotels and restaurants should be subject to this kind of regulation but that drug companies should not?

What's the distinction? You need food and shelter to live? You also need medicine.
The distinction between those hypothetical situations is that in the first case, they're refusing service to customers, in the second case, they're simply not selling a service some people want. It's the difference between saying, "Only Christians may buy our bibles" and "We're only going to sell the Christian version of the bible."

That having been said, I don't think it's an important distinction; both kinds ought to be allowed as long as we're talking about private individuals rather than the government.

I think you have to argue for why this kind of regulation is not innocuous. And I don't think you can do that without Lochnerizing.
Huh? Why not? "Lochnerizing" involves interpreting the constitution in a certain way. I don't see what an argument that it isn't innocuous has to do with an argument about the constitution. As a non-liberal, I can think that it is very bad for the government to do X and yet not think the constitution says anything about X at all.
6.3.2007 4:43am
Cruising Troll:
Let us assume, for a moment, that E-Harmony's practice is religiously motivated.

What possible justification is there for arguing that E-Harmony must be forced to be a party to promoting behavior it finds objectionable? Why don't we start requiring abortion clinics to give referrals to crisis pregnancy centers (and visa versa)? Let's require the Libertarian National Convention to provide space and an hour in prime time to the American Communist Party! This isn't about "tolerance", its not even about "acceptance", its about full blown support and endorsement.

For anybody who stretches the argument that EHarmony is a "public accomodation" akin to a hotel or a diner, whuuuutchu smoking? The only way that argument flies is if the intensely personal relationship that is the theoretical goal of EHarmony's customers is, in fact, the business of the government.

Isn't it a rallying cry of the gay activists "keep the government out of our bedroom"?

Bizarre.
6.4.2007 10:55pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Isn't it a rallying cry of the gay activists "keep the government out of our bedroom"?

Bizarre.
That is so 20th century.

The "right to privacy" argument was historically incorrect, but at least it led the right direction--less government. Homosexual activists now demand more government, doing more things and telling people what they must do, and when, and with whom. They should reconsider Aesop's fable of the frogs who wanted a king.

If the government has authority to tell businesses who they must do business with, might it not in the future have authority to tell businesses who they must not do business with? "Congress has decided that homosexuals are bad role models for our children--and so it has passed a law prohibiting homosexuals from working as teachers or child care workers, in both public and private institutions."

It's unfortunate that homosexuals aren't content to be left alone, but must now force everyone to pretend that homosexuality is okay. This is part of why I have become far less libertarian over time, because it appears that a society can't tolerate homosexuality without turning into a police state run for the benefit of homosexuals--where speaking against homosexuality gets you prosecuted, or held without bail.
6.5.2007 3:24pm