We all remember eHarmony’s refusal to provide services for single gay folk attempting to make a harmonious match and the resulting lawsuit. Ultimately, eHarmony started a separate site for gay and lesbian people, but not without a fight by the founder, Christian Evangelical Dr. Neil Clark Warren called, “Compatible Partners!”
Noting the fact that eHarmony had just shunned a large and loyal target market, chemistry.com launched (and continues to run) ads saying “Rejected by eHarmony, Because I’m Gay?” and “Gay? Not on eHarmony.”
Chemistry.com obviously understood that gay money was as good as straight money and that gay people can also benefit from online matchmaking services. As a way to thank chemistry.com, the image with this article of their ad links to their services and is being run free on this post. I encourage you to use the chemistry.com service should you find yourself wanting to try out online dating.
I decided to dig deeper into the eHarmony settlement.
As part of the settlement, eHarmony.com launched a separate site called Compatible Partners specifically geared toward gay relationships. According to the Fox News article [cited above as eHarmony settlement] eHarmony announced that, “…users of the ‘Compatible Partners’ site and eHarmony.com cannot be paired together.” But what happens if you are a “man” seeking a “man” on eHarmony? When you click, “Find My Matches” you receive this message:
Thus, for eHarmony, gays are separate, but equal.
The point here isn’t that “eHarmony” is bad with regard to LGBT issues. Instead, the point is that raising awareness of those issues inspires change, that our money is wanted by some businesses and that we should remember, if a business doesn’t want us, we don’t want the business. We have options and alternatives from businesses that want to do business with us.
Wal-Mart CEO, Mike Duke, signed the petition”providing “that an individual who is cohabiting outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than eighteen years old.” Further, although Wal-Mart does recognize domestic partnerships and other same-sex unions recognized by local laws in its conflict-of-interest policy, it does not recognize such relationships for benefits purposes. In 2007, Wal-Mart announced it would stop providing financial support to LGBT organizations and it is only one of two Fortune 10 companies (along with Exxon Mobile) that does not provide anti-discrimination clauses for “gender identity.” Again, that’s not to say Wal-Mart is “bad” [cough cough], but to remind us that we have a choice, we have power as consumers, we have power as voices. We must use that power in order to gain full equality.
For information on corporation that support LGBT equality, I encourage you to visit the listings at Gay Wallet, a social network for LGBT people which has a “whos who” list of Fortune 500 companies which: (1) include sexual orientation in the company’s equal employment opportunity policy, (2) include gender identification in the company’s equal employment opportunity policy; and (3) provide domestic partner health benefits for same-sex couples.