Serena Freewomyn

eHarmony Will Now Accept Same Sex Couples

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | November 21, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: eHarmony, Focus on the Family, Neil Clark Warren, online dating, Prop 8, same-sex couples

Yesterday is was announced that eHarmony will accept same sex couples on their online dating service. According to Poponthepop.com, "the new same-sex matching service from eHarmony, Compatible Partners, is set to debut by March 31."

Before anyone jumps on the eHarmony bandwagon, let's not forget that eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren is a Mormon and a big time supporter of Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family, of course, was a major financial donor to the Yes on 8 campaign.

So let me get this straight . . . Gays and lesbians aren't good enough to get married, but eHarmony will take our money? Fuck off, assholes!



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Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 21, 2008 4:28 PM

Yes. It's a good thing that the court forced his business to stop its blatant discrimination and it's a good thing that we now have the ability to exercise the choice to include his business in the list that self-respecting queers and other nice people will not patronize.

I'm thinking "fuck off assholes" is WAYYYY too diplomatic for them!

They rejected gays and lesbians before.

Amazing how easily values can be changed when money is involved. They need to recoup their investment in "Yes on 8" somehow.

Not sure why they made them do this.

They should be free to run the business as they see fit, just like I'm free to never give them any money ever.

I'm most interested in the "promotional materials" that eHarmony will put together for this new site.

It's offensive that a separate site entirely will be created to begin with, and you KNOW the televised ads (if they make any) will NOT feature gay couples that got married after meeting on its site.

... Then again, maybe it will. The married couples make for powerful ads and eHarmony's definitely going to be cashing in with this.

I still consider it progress, though. It's tragic that the same $ given to the site will be used to fight gay rights. :(

Firecracker, you've made a really good point. They're setting up a separate website for the queers.

The only reason they did it is because the court ordered them too. I doubt they'll do it well, or for long.

OKCupid accepts everybody, and aggressively defends the rights of trans women to be recognized as our true genders.

Its also free.

I'm sure there are many other free/low cost dating sites that are trans and LGB friendly.

I might also ask that you look into other places that truly do not discriminate, instead of the many LGB but not T sites like Chasing Amy Social Club and many many others.

Why fund hate? Of course, I bet many LGB folks will stop at the first LGB but not T friendly site they find. Because thet is what 4 decades of queer history has taught me.

Alyssa, you've got a really great point about trans folks and internet dating.

Hmmm....

I'm troubled by this post. You sound like entirely too many gays I have met who argued that gays should get a free pass for transphobia because they have it all hard too, etc. its bad strategy, blah blah blah.

My sympathy for fantasy based abusive people is quite limited tho. So, on being nice to the Mormons, we must part company. I am quite harsh on gays over their moral failings, so it would be quite hypocritical for me to give the Mormons a get out of socially responsible behavior free" card, no?

All the same arguments that the gay transphobes used are here... just change the words.

Kindly delete the above. My browser choked and regurgitated that offtopic mess last night.

Thanx

I think this was a very bad decision.

What now? gay.com, manhunt.net, and others get forced to allow straights?

It's a slippery slope, people.

Reformed Ascetic | November 22, 2008 6:09 AM

My very first reaction was how crappy a name is "Compatible Partners" not exactly suggesting of romance is it. Is this just bad marketing strategy? A name created by someone incapable of being comfortable enough to create a more appealing name. Or, donning my tinfoil hat, is it a purposeful attempt to make that division less than successful? Maybe with an eye to closing it in the future? Huh?

My next thought was why does it have to be a separate website at all. I was under the impression eHarmony matches people by their profiles so even people who are horrified at the existence of queers wouldn't have to risk being offended by seeing their presence.

My next and final thought was it sounds like eHarmony is planning to do nothing to address the B and T portions of the LGBT acronym. Did anyone explain to them that there were four letters in that acronym and what those four meant? It's one thing for individuals to eliminate meeting B and T people in their questionnaires, and another not to even provide the possibility.

Warren also made a disclaimer that his matching criteria were based on heterosexual couples and would not necessarily work for homosexual couples. My understanding is that this has been part of his justification for prohibiting same sex couples in the past, so someone may well have felt the legal need to reiterate it. And I'm sure some people may well agree that researching mixed-sex couples isn't necessarily equivalent to same-sex couples.

Still it has that ring of, "OK, you guys can play at finding your partners, but we all know that it's not really the same thing."

regrettably, the LGb has an awful track record respecting and welcoming transfolk.

Oddly, many sites not LGB specific do better.

It would be nice to see real LGBT instead of the ersatz version we are asked to condone so many times.
A really inclusive site (for any group) has: a

representation
accountability
transparency
measureable results and demonstrable participation
a willingness to self examine and change as needed
and an aggressive retention policy designed to bring people from target groups in and make them feel wanted and welcome.

MySpace and OKC both have a Spanish language side. It is kinda rough, but, its a start. You can kind of tell when a place is trying, and when they are just going through the motions.

And as far as EHarmony's "science' I don't think I want a formula for choosing partners. I like to get to know people, rather than use them to solve a simultaneous equation in p variables. So, I tend to be super choosy about what organizations I involve myself with.

But then again maybe I am just a curmudgeon from dealing with a really nasty gay racist transphobe for hours on an online forum tonight.


"Warren also made a disclaimer that his matching criteria were based on heterosexual couples and would not necessarily work for homosexual couples. My understanding is that this has been part of his justification for prohibiting same sex couples in the past, so someone may well have felt the legal need to reiterate it. And I'm sure some people may well agree that researching mixed-sex couples isn't necessarily equivalent to same-sex couples.

Still it has that ring of, "OK, you guys can play at finding your partners, but we all know that it's not really the same thing."

That is tantamount to him saying that gays are somehow not human. Because they don't have the same human values as the ones we have tried on straight people, that the only thing gays have in common with straights is the need for sex, or that gays only want sex and that is not a basis for compatibility or long lasting relationships.

The thing is he only counseled straight couples in his history of counseling no gays and from that he compiled his list of what compatibility is and smugly said his shtick because from his faith only women and men belong together.. It reminds me of the Valtrex commercial.. This has only been tested in heterosexual couples implying that gay couples aren't by nature monogamous responsible sexual people. Which makes me wonder if they are Mormon or at least conservative drug makers.

Pegasez Author | November 22, 2008 9:20 AM

Another thing about OKCupid - it's the only dating site with "Bisexual" as a setting. If you think being left out of a dating site because you're gay is bad, imagine about having to pay for TWO memberships instead of just selecting
"I am a MAN looking for a PERSON."

Now about the founder being a Mormon, that's enough to make me quit!

I've only heard good things about OKCupid for their inclusion of bi and trans folk. I've also heard that quite a few people are using the site now too.

Bil

OKCupid doesn't just "include" transpeeps. They aggressively defend our right to be there.
If I wanted "inclusion," there are many LGB-hate on T sites I could go to.

But, I prefer to be valued, and wanted. And, LGB is most definitely NOT the way to go for trans people unless they are tooling up for a fight.

LGB friendly usually means trans hostile.
Chasing Amy discrimiantes against the T
So do Gaydargirls
So does BiDatingNow

etc etc etc.

All of these sites are LGB friendly, and on record as discriminating against transfolk. Which is demonstrably the LGB standard now, isn't it?


Hey, thanks for all the great comments. Ya'll have been adding lots of great stuff to a very short post.

RA, I really like your "tinfoil hat" metaphor. Good stuff! And I think you're right . . . they're setting up the separate site to be in compliance with the court order, but they're not going to market it or try to make it successful at all.

And as for Warren and his "scientific methods" . . . when I was working on my Masters, I planned to do my thesis by measuring relationship satisfaction in same sex and bisexual couples. There is a Marital Satisfaction Index that has been used extensively with hetero couples and validated across different racial groups. One researcher has taken the same measure and validated it for same sex couples. But no one has ever collected a large survey. That would have been where my thesis came into play. Anyway . . . none of our readers will be shocked to discover that same sex and bisexual couples are looking for the same things in a a relationship that heterosexual couples are. And the two main things that cause friction in a heterosexual couple (conflicts over money, conflicts over parenting styles) are the same major sources of tension in same sex and bisexual couples. Go figure!

I may not have PhD like Warren does, but at least I'm up to date on my research. Homeboy needs to take a sabbatical and catch up on his reading.

Reformed Ascetic | November 22, 2008 11:11 PM

The growing awareness that pharmaceuticals can act differently in people of different ages, sexes, etc. is definitely a good thing. But even that is sometimes taken too far. A 40-year old female acquaintance of mine was recently refused the HPV vaccine because it was off-label use for example.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are some queer people who feel that LGBT relationships have defining differences from straight relationships. And as a researcher you know first-had that sometimes important differences crop up in unexpected places.

But any survey capable of evaluating mixed-sex couples without regard to ethnicity, religion, place of birth, or any other factor should be more than broad enough to successfully handle same-sex couples.

I have to agree with your putting of scientific methods in quotes regarding Warren.

I interviewed for a position with eHarmony a few years ago. Dr. Warren seemed really nice - like a kindly grandfather.
When I asked him whether or not eHarmony would ever reach out to the gay community, he repeated the same statement that they had posted in their FAQs on their web site - that the relationship research that they had done to create the "29 dimensions of compatibility" was performed using heterosexual couples, and that they could not simply extend their matching methods to work for homosexuals.
I read between the lines, after learning that the matching service was originally founded to match church-going people with each other. eHarmony was never going to develop a gay product, simply because gays did not fit their religious values.
If you read their FAQs now, the ONLY reason that they are launching "Compatible Partners" is because that's part of their settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General.
I wonder what the details of that settlement are. Do they have to create a site that is "the same" as eHarmony? Do they have to advertise it? Can they charge more for membership (since it's a different site entirely)? Certainly, that's something I would do if I were being forced to launch a site that I didn't want to support.
My advice to gays: stay away from eHarmony and Compatible Partners. Why put your gay dollars in the pockets of someone who doesn't support our community?
BTW, eHarmony is incredibly profitable, since they charge a lot more than Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, etc.