eHarmony and homophobia

CEOeHarmony’s CEO Neil Clark Warren disgusts me. In his recent interview with Yahoo! Finance, he whines in an auto-playing video about how the same-sex couples discussion has harmed his company’s image, we’ve made too much of it as a society, and he’s sick of everyone talking  about it already.

To give you a little history, eHarmony was vocally opposed to helping same-sex couples find matches via the same algorithms and services that they used to help opposite-sex couples find love.  They would inform gay singles that they simply couldn’t be helped, although I believe their official wording was less transparently anti-gay. They suffered a lot of justified negative publicity for this decision, and after a series of lawsuits and settlements, they reluctantly deigned to create a companion site that caters to same-sex couples searching for love. Neil says that instead of doing that, he wishes he could have thrown money at another company so they could really focus on “figuring out homosexuality.” Then his company wouldn’t have to cater to same-sex-seeking singles; I mean yuck; amirite?

I don’t care how important faith is to you as a person; when you enmesh faith with your company in this country, you’re going to get some blowback, and you don’t then get to whine and ask the entire nation to stop discussing a civil rights issue that made you upset and took a chunk out of your earnings. I have zero sympathy for the tough times eHarmony has been through because of their checkered PR past when it comes to same-sex couples. If the algorithm fits, let girls use it to find girls and boys use it to find boys.

Edited to add: A few people have asked me about this further on social networks, so I want to clarify something. I DO NOT believe that all Christians or Christian business owners are bigoted or anti-gay. I also don’t believe that you absolutely must avoid using eHarmony if you disagree with their causes. I just think that this particular vocally Christian business leader has made some profoundly stupid and offensive remarks about his own bigoted stance, and I’m frustrated by his continued unwillingness to admit his own bias. He continues to make blunders that make his company (and, in many eyes, by extension many other Christians and Christian companies) look bad. It’s possible to navigate conflicting view points so much more gracefully than eHarmony has done in the past, or continues to do now, and the language Neil Clark Warren uses to describe his befuddled frustration and anti-gay core really rile me up. I think all humans deserve to be able to find the love that works for them, and I honestly don’t think that’s what he believes, which makes me deeply sad and angry.

At its core, eHarmony’s technology is capable of providing a great service for a certain demographic and personality type. I’ve recommended it for (straight) clients in the past, and I continue to recommend it to certain clients despite my own personal reservations about the company’s morality. However, I always inform people about the company’s stance and history, so they can decide for themselves if they want to financially support a company that’s been so blatantly bigoted in the past. If online daters want to find options that are less anti-same-sex unions, there are plenty of other choices that aim to fill the gap in the marketplace that eHarmony’s fumbles have left wide open. Drop me a line and I’ll help you find your best fit, no matter what gender you love! ♥

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