Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

June 1, 2007

"Bisexuals booted from dating websites"


"Canada's leading queer source of fresh news, views, ideas and culture" comes out with an article today (June 1, 2007) on anti-bi and anti-poly policies at online dating services — in particular Lavalife, based in Toronto but owned from Connecticut.

...It's not the first time that bisexuals looking for loving have found themselves bounced from an on-line hookup site. Last year Match.com and Yahoo Personals got into trouble with queer clients for discriminating against both bisexuals and people in polyamorous relationships. Match.com was found to be rejecting profiles of users who identified as bisexual because its employees assumed that a bisexual person was inherently non-monogamous. Neither site allows profiles involving non-monogamy on the grounds that it conflicts with their anti-cheating policies.

Read the whole article. Lavalife claims 600,000 active members, a staff of over 270, and annual revenue of more than $100 million.

And then this story came out later the same day:

EHarmony sued for excluding same-sex matches

By Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, June 1, 2007

Linda Carlson was looking for a partner and decided to try eHarmony, the Pasadena-based online dating service that advertises its ability to "deliver matches that have the foundation of compatibility based on a lifetime of joy." When the San Mateo County woman tried to log in, she was given two options: "man seeking a woman" or "woman seeking a man."

Neither suited Carlson, who was seeking another woman. Her complaint to the company this February got nowhere, and on Thursday, she filed suit in Los Angeles accusing eHarmony of violating a California law that prohibits businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

"The case is about moving gay rights into this century," Todd Schneider, a lawyer for Carlson, said Friday. "It could not possibly be OK to say no black people allowed, or no Chinese people allowed, but for some reason, this Web site thinks it's OK to say no gay people allowed."

But Lanny Davis, a lawyer for eHarmony, said the company isn't violating California law by excluding gays and lesbians. He said the law prohibits only arbitrary discrimination that lacks a legitimate business purpose.

"Our rational business basis is that our research database comes from a clinical psychiatrist observing successful marriages vs. non-successful," observations based entirely on opposite-sex marriages, Davis said....

Read the whole article. Or google up lots more.

EHarmony was founded and is chaired by a prominent evangelical Christian, Neil Clark Warren, with the ideal of helping men and women to marry successfully. It owes its early growth to promotion by arch-conservative James Dobson, a friend of Warren's, on Dobson's Focus on the Family radio show. In recent years it has sought more secular markets. It claims more than 14 million users.

You might think a legal clash is coming between the company's religious principles and California's clear nondiscrimination law, which covers every type of "public accomodation." But EHarmony's defense ducks the issue, with its claim that Warren's system for matching husbands and wives is untested for same-sex couples and that the company doesn't want to serve them poorly.

Update Nov. 19, 2008: In a settlement of lawsuits against it, eHarmony has agreed to create a new website for gays and lesbians, named "Compatible Partners," by March 31, 2009. The first 10,000 same-sex customers get a free subscription for six months. Details.


P.S. FOR POLYS: Three dating sites that polys often speak well of are PolyMatchMaker, the newer Poly Friends Network, and especially OK Cupid (be sure to answer lots of questions to build a detailed and useful profile).

On any dating site, expect to get a lot of spammy sex solicitations (ignore them); expect to answer many reasonable inquiries before finding one worth a date (meet only at a safe public place); expect many dates before finding one that clicks. You may do better just by widening your real-life social circles, especially in the direction of alternative-culture interests.

And of course, start going to the meetings of your local polyamory discussion/support group — not to look for pickups, please, but as a long-term investment in making new friends and widening your social circles in interesting directions. Here is Loving More's listing of local poly groups. Here are Tristan Taormino's lists of groups in the U.S. and in other countries.


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