eHarmony pressured to add same-sex partners to main site

PASADENA, Calif. — A California court settlement is forcing eHarmony to eliminate its separation of its heterosexual and homosexual dating sites and to make them more friendly to people who seek homosexual matches.

eHarmony maintains a separate Web site, Compatible Partners, for gays and lesbians as a result of a previous lawsuit.

The lawsuit, Carlson v. eHarmony, was filed as the result of a complaint that gays and lesbians were discriminated against because they were unable to use the company's main Web site to be matched with same-sex partners.

EHarmony will also have to add "man seeking man" or "woman seeking woman" options from a drop-down menu on the eHarmony.com homepage, include a gay dating link on the bottom of the main site and display eHarmony's logo on the gay site. Bisexuals will also be able to pay one fee to access both sites.

The settlement also requires eHarmony to pay more than $500,000 to gay and lesbian plaintiffs who filed discrimination complaints. The unclaimed portion of this money will be donated to a charity designated by the court.

The company did not admit any wrongdoing or liability in the settlement.

Some pro-family conservatives feel that the settlement has diverted the company from its core values.

"To those of us in the pro-family movement who hailed eHarmony's commitment to the virtue of traditional marriage, the company's actions are distressing and damaging," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told the Christian Post.

eHarmony was created by Neil Clark Warren, a Christian psychologist who based his compatibility models around key dimensions of personality that predicted compatibility and the potential for long-term relationship success.

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