Is eHarmony Playing Out of Tune?

The BasicMan is having trouble with this one. NOT because of the litigaextortionnts involved but because of the nature of the suit. and what it says about our legal system in a hyperactive politically correct environment where the term civil rights has taken on a life of it’s own. This wasn’t jurisprudence, this was extortion.

 

I thought I was reading a script from the theater of the absurd when I came across an article on Nathan Koppel’s Wall Street Journal law blog titled eHarmony Settles With NJ AG; Will Offer Matching Service for Gays.    Apparently Eric McKinley, a gay resident of N.J., wasn’t amused with the business plan of eHarmony when he was rejected  as a client requesting them to find a same sex match for him. He filed suit with the office of the N.J. Attorney General claiming that eHarmony broke N.J’s Law Against Discrimination.  EHarmony does not offer same sex partner searches as part of their online dating service, and for good reason. The company is one of the top online relationship services provider. Founded by Neil Clark Warren PhD. in 2002 after a 40 year career as a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor that catered to heterosexual relationships, he developed a business plan that focused on his area of expertise. Dr. Warren’s expertise and Mr. McKinley’s desires weren’t a match made in heaven.

Cue the lawyers and let the tort process begin with the result yielding an out of court settlement. The New Jersey A.G.’s office pocketed $50,000, Eric McKinley took in $5000 and eHarmony agreed under duress to start a new venture called Compatible Partners, specifically designed for same sex matchmaking.  EHarmony bankrolled the entire bill as penance for Mr. McKinley’s effort.

It’s important to note that EHarmony was not found to have broken any laws. Theodore B. Olson, an attorney for eHarmony, said that even though the company believed McKinley’s complaint was “an unfair characterization of our business,” it chose to settle because of the unpredictable nature of litigation.

The BasicMan is having trouble with this one. NOT because of the litigants involved but because of the nature of the suit. and what it says about our legal system in a hyperactive politically correct environment where the term civil rights has taken on a life of it’s own. This wasn’t jurisprudence, this was extortion.

It will be interesting to see if Eric McKinley will seek to sue eHarmony and Neil Clark Warren if Compatible Partners botches up a series of same sex searches on his behalf? Remember, Dr. Warren’s expertise is in the field of heterosexual relationships. That would be akin to forcing a prominent knee surgeon to perform a hip replacement against his recommendation and then taking legal action when you end up with a limp.

The BasicMan would be in Mr. McKinley’s corner if no such service existed for the gay population. A quick search on Google provided me with several million online dating sources within .29 seconds. If you throw out a million duplicates, another 500,00 Wikipedia entries, and 250,000 YouTube posts, Eric still had several hundred thousand places to go to find his mate. It took another .29 seconds to find out that the top 6 companies; Matchmaker, Lavalife, Chemistry.com Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, PerfectMatch offer exactly what Eric was looking for.

A similar suit in California was brought against eHarmony in 2005 but was dismissed when more rational minds prevailed. This  version of legal arm twisting however is a step backward for gay civil rights.

This wasn’t about Mr. McKinley being denied his civil rights anymore than me being denied my civil rights because I can’t buy a BigMac in a health foods store.

Was eHarmony playing out of tune? Absolutely not, but I hear our legal system playing a few sour notes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: