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The online match-making site eHarmony has agreed to launch a same-sex matching service next March after settling allegations that the company violated New Jersey’s anti-discrimination law by excluding gays and lesbians.
A New Jersey gay man filed a complaint with the state in 2005, saying that eHarmony violated his rights by not offering a same-sex matching option. For the last three years, eHarmony has battled the allegations, finally settling with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division on Civil Rights.
“Even though we believed that the complaint resulted from an unfair characterization of our business, we ultimately decided it was best to settle this case with the attorney general since litigation outcomes can be unpredictable,” said eHarmony legal counsel Theodore B. Olson.
eHarmony matches singles using its trademark Compatibility Matching System that was developed after years of researching opposite-sex couples and their marriages. According to a 2008 eHarmony poll, 236 eHarmony members are married every day in the United States, which accounted for 2.57 percent of new U.S. marriages during the study period.
eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren, a self-professed “passionate”
evangelical Christian, had worked closely with Colorado-based Focus on the Family in launching the site. Warren has said the site is open to all faiths, but until the settlement eHarmony declined to take listings for same-sex couples.
The new site, Compatible Partners, will be accessible through the Web site, but will remain separate so members from one will not be matched with members from the other.
“With the launch of the Compatible Partners site, our policy is to welcome all single individuals who are genuinely seeking long-term relationships,” said Antone Johnson, eHarmony’s vice president of legal affairs.
Registration will be free for the first 10,000 users to join within one year of the Compatible Partners site lunch. Eric McKinley, the man who originally filed the complaint, will receive $5,000 and free membership for a year.
Ashley Gipson
Religion News Service
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission

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