Sean Kosofsky

Newsweek Contributor Spins eHarmony bias

Filed By Sean Kosofsky | April 30, 2008 7:16 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: eHarmony, Lisa Miller, Neil Clark Warren, Newsweek

Newsweek's Religion and Society Editor/Contributor Lisa Miller has a piece in this week's issue explaining the PR problem that eHarmony is having.

Most of the piece is just an overview for most of us, but then in one sentence Miller seems to defend eHarmony.com's bias against gays. She said, "eHarmony does not reject gays - it simply doesn't accept them: the only choices on the site are 'man seeking woman' or 'woman seeking man.'"

Depending on how you read the entire paragraph, Miller could just be playing devil's advocate for Neil Clark Warren, the fundamentalist founder of eHarmony, but either way it deserves a closer look. How can you possibly say that discrimination is not occurring when you admit you don't accept certain people? By using language the excludes people from the outset, you are overtly discriminating.

This is like advocates for marriage bans saying that are not discriminating against gays because all they are doing is defining marriage a particular way. Ok. Just like when this nation defined blacks as being three-fifths of a person wasn't discrimination, or defining certain Native American tribes as extinct, when they aren't. Give me a break.

Not knowing much about Lisa Miller I found her bio on the site too, which mentions coverage of LGBT and AIDS issues in the past. So you be the judge.

The part that bothered me most, other than the above comment, was that eHarmony still claims it uses "unique scientific research into what makes heterosexual unions work." I can't think of one thing that heterosexual couples want in a relationship that gay couples don't as a general rule. So this claim is of course bogus. Miller seems to agree that this research is sound.

To contact Newsweek after reading the piece go to letters@newsweek.com


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EHarmony is missing out on paying customers, plain and simple. From a business standpoint, it doesn't make sense. But I'll take my dollars somewhere else. You don't want my cash, no problem.

What's the big f'ing deal?

Is Manhunt.net discrimating straight couples by not allowing them to join? Is gay.com? Is outpersonals.com?

If e-harmony wants to be a "wholesome dating service for heterosexuals who long for a return to the '50s" then who cares? Let them have their site, just like we are allowed to have our hookup and dating sites.

This is gay whininess at its worst.

Sean Kosofsky Sean Kosofsky | April 30, 2008 6:11 PM

No one is whining James. But eharmony should admit it discriminates. The fundamentalist Christian background should tip you off.

@James - the difference with ManHunt and Gay.com is that they allow straight people to join - they don't exclude straight people automatically.

However, in reference to the article, while the author does say what eHarmony's reasoning is, I didn't get the impression that she was very satisfied with it. The section after the part you quoted is:

While this explanation may be true, it also sidesteps the real problem. eHarmony was founded eight years ago by a conservative Christian who had a passionate interest in the benefits of shared values in heterosexual marriageā€”and he sold this formula within the Christian world... Today, the company desires to reap the economies of scale offered by a mainstream clientele, and in the wider world, shared values are not as easy to compute.