If eHarmony Embraces the Gays, Should Manhunt Straddle the Strais?

DATING: “The popular eHarmony online dating service will have to do more to welcome gays and lesbians to its site, under a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit announced Tuesday.”

More from The San Francisco Chronicle:

As a result of a 2008 settlement with the state of New Jersey, which sued the company for discrimination, men and women seeking same-sex matches were redirected from eHarmony to an affiliate Web site, Compatiblepartners.net.

A separate class-action civil rights lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles in 2007, saying that eHarmony violated California law barring businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

From NBC LA:

Attorney Todd Schneider, who represents the plaintiffs, said the company would pay $500,000 to an estimated 150 Californians to settle the class-action suit, plus around $1.5 million in court and attorney’s fees.

California residents who filed written complaints with the company would receive $4,000 each from the settlement funds, he said. A judge must sign off on the settlement..

Um, we don’t want to sound like we’re on the other team, but like, is Curve Personals required to accept straight people? Will Manhunt open up its services to ladies looking for a bareback bottom experience within the next hour (is that the right lingo? We don’t know.) Can’t you guys meet each other RIGHT HERE? Tegan and Sara dot CA? SheDate? OK Cupid? What else?

Can’t we just use a different website? Nerve Personals still exists, right, and they’ve been accepting bisexuals and gays from the get-go.  Right this moment on craigslist there is a 32-year-old pregnant women looking for someone “not afraid to cum enjoy this wetness,” another surely lovely woman seeking ANY REAL FEMALES LOOKING TO PLAY???!!!! and! OH! a lovely 26-year old who’d like to “share wine, chocolate and “trees”” “this wkend.”

What do you need e-harmony for, do you want this guy to pick your wife?

Well, here’s the catch: we basically don’t like that guy. Dr. Neil Clark Warren. When he was first challenged for not accepting gays, Warren said, “We don’t really want to participate in something that’s illegal.” And then, understandably, some gays decided to sue his ass.

And well, when you see how the haters responded to “eharmony caving into evil” it kinda encourages the impression that homophobia is driving the exclusion and therefore should be dealt with.  But shouldn’t we pick or battles wisely? Is this really the right place to fight? What do you think?

CARTOONS: Gay Cartoonists Exhibit Their Work From The ’70s to Today – “I’ve been knitting the Pashmina of Verbal Abuse for the exhibition,” he says. “It’s very long and contains the words we’ve been called over the years — you know, like shirt-lifter, batty boy, poof, pansy, homo, pervert, faggot — that kind of thing.” (@timesonline)

VOGUE: Another Great Edition of Jezebel v. Vogue (@jezebel)

NOSE KNOWS: Ever Wonder What Life Would Be Like If You Couldn’t Smell? “In fact, I can’t recall a single moment in my life — in bed or otherwise — when I’ve been swept up, overwhelmed, a little faint or weak in the knees. I can’t think of anything. Am I too neurotic, or is it the schnoz?” (@nerve)

ABSTINENCE: Teen Pregnancy Is On The Rise Again“The significant drop in teen pregnancy rates in the 1990s was overwhelmingly the result of more and better use of contraceptives among sexually active teens. However, this decline started to stall out in the early 2000s, at the same time that sex education programs aimed exclusively at promoting abstinence—and prohibited by law from discussing the benefits of contraception—became increasingly widespread and teens’ use of contraceptives declined.” (@guttmacher)

BANNED BOOKS: A school in California has Banned The Dictionary after a student found the definition for “oral sex.” (@timesonline)

DADT: UCLA’s Williams Institute Reports Around 66,000 LGB Service Members – Gates concludes that, “Ending Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell will save a substantial amount of taxpayer dollars since estimates suggest that the policy has cost more than half a billion dollars.” (@earthtimes)

MATH: Math-Phobic Teachers Hurt Girls’ Performance –  “Having a highly math-anxious female teacher may push girls to confirm the stereotype that they are not as good as boys at math, which in turn, affects girls’ math achievement.”  (@salon)

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. Guys, a school BANNED the DICTIONARY. Fucking idiots.

    In other news: I feel the need to tell you that I have rescued a puppy, and he shall be called Auto.


    I’ve just spent the evening messaging everyone I know from HS (it wasn’t a long list so much as it took lots of thinking and browsing my friends lists since I keep in regular touch with about 2 people) about a parent’s attempt to ban an Arthur (TV show) series book in which Buster stays with a gay family in Vermont to learn about maple syrup.

    The board hears the case in about 4 hours (and if you too are a Tulsa Union HS grad or just want to express yourself anyway, email the board here: http://www.unionps.org/index.cfm?id=113&theparentid=112).

    So the dictionary story made me feel slightly better for about a half second. “Hey! At least my school isn’t being asked to ban THE DICTIONARY!” Then it just made me depressed that there are people who have (presumably) that great human ability to think rationally and analytically yet persist so epically in failing to do so.


    • update: the board voted in favor of keeping the book.

      The only member who wanted it removed has a (very nice and intelligent) daughter I used to play softball with. So if he tried to shield his own children from the gays he failed enthusiastically at approving their extracurriculars.

  3. Also, I don’t WANT Eharmony to have to let us in, because if they do, we’ll have to let them into Curve personals and shit. Also, we have other places to go and I’m not sure why I’m supposed to want to spend money at his place. Just saying.

  4. Considering that there are now TWO marriages within my family as a result of eHarmony matchings, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

    Although, I’d just like to point out that many of the “girls” on craigslist are actually straight guys/weirdos/straight couples looking for a threesome. Curve personals stinks unless you pay for it. OKCupid rocks though.

    • oh yeah craigslist is a wasteland, mostly guys who want pictures of girls or want to cyber. it was different 5 or 6 years ago but I don’t know who still uses it. It’s funny to look at though.

      yeah i hear okcupid is what all the kids are doing these days. is it gay-only?

      • okcupid isn’t gay only, but based on preferences, you’ll only see other gays/bisexuals as matches and i’m pretty sure you can edit your privacy settings so men can’t contact you. it has a lot of really cool features that other sites don’t have, mostly because it wasn’t really created by people who think they know everything about love- they’re just really smart math/computer geeks.

        oh, and there are tons of really hot people on it.

    • i hope this kid doesn’t discover the internet, where there are words AND pictures about oral sex. in any event, isn’t it useful to know the definition of oral sex?

      • It really is. I remember being a wee sheltered young thing hearing about oral sex for the first time (via the Bill Clinton impeachment trials, natch) and assuming it was meant like making out. I’m very grateful for my friendly household dictionary for clarifying that one for me.

  5. laura, you WOULD take some quotes from craigslist…

    also i wouldn’t want to use e-harmony. are a bunch of lesbians going to flock there? there are definitely more options at other established (w/r/t gays and lesbians) dating sites in this already limited world.

    • I think the issue would be more about straight people feeling guilty about financially supporting something that discriminates against a group of people. (That’s why my dad stopped using eHarmony. Seriously.)

      Maybe the plaintiffs are secretly suing because eHarmony ads are annoying.

  6. I really like the term “Math Confident Woman” from that article. As a woman who does math at high levels and enjoys it, I’ve always felt like I have a duty to be visibly confident about it.

    • Wear your Planck constant with pride, I say.

      ps. Win – thank you for making “Strai” happen. I dreamed this day would come.

      • a long time coming, LN James.

        From: Haviland
        To: Riese

        “that girl on your blog who writes “tongue tied” is hilarious — i read her blog and commented. seriously, we have to start saying, “omg that was SO strai!”

    • as someone who has dated a math major, i’m going to vote that i like math confident women too. seriously though, it’s really great/affirming/sexy to see women feel/be accomplished at things we aren’t supposed to enjoy or be good at.

  7. wow they banned the dictionary after he looked up the word “oral sex”??? lol imagine if he looked up the word “cunnilingus”- now that would be an article to read.

  8. I def think we should choose our battles wisely. He’s def a dumbass, but like whatevs. I mean, whatevs.

    Banning the dictionary? That’s like asking for teh stupidz.

  9. Just a quick note about eHarmony. Their compatibility test is patented (US pat. 6,735,568). This paragraph is in the description of the patent: “An individual satisfaction estimator can be determined for each match group. A match group is a group of persons who may have different factors influence their satisfaction in a relationship. For instance, suitable match groups may include straight men, straight women, gay men and gay women. A relationship for a particular match group is generated using only data for members of the particular match group.”

    Anyway, the actual patent claims themselves are pretty broad, and in the description (see above), eHarmony actually states that their matching method can be applied to gay men and women. But in the actual practice of their business plan, they excluded gay men and women, so gays and lesbians were effectively excluded from being matched via the eHarmony method. Why? Because if another business entity were to use that matching mechanism for gay and lesbians, eHarmony could sue them for patent infringement. Even though eHarmony didn’t allow gay and lesbian matching on their site, they still had the patent and could sue for infringement if they chose to. Sneaky eh?

    Anyway, the class action suit had nothing to do with patents – I think it had to do with California’s super-broad public accommodations law (don’t quote me on that). I just wanted to point out their sketchy intellectual property claims.

Comments are closed.