The conservative Christian co-founder of the dating site eHarmony says that marriage equality damaged his company and endangered his employees. The irony? Fellow conservatives are the ones who nearly got violent over the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the online dating scene.
In an interview with Yahoo! Finance this month, eHarmony CEO Neil Clark Warren says he’s a “passionate follower of Jesus” and was formerly associated with the anti-gay group Focus on the Family. As such, his company was notorious for refusing to match same-sex couples.
Then in 2008, and again in 2010, the rulings from two separate lawsuits required he not only open a dating website for gay and lesbian users, but also unify subscriptions and link between the two sites rather than keep them separate and unaffiliated.
According to a Mashable article about the 2010 lawsuit:
A gay man from New Jersey named Eric McKinley filed suit against eHarmony in 2008 for not offering matchmaking for gays and lesbians. eHarmony settled by agreeing to launch a service for gay and lesbian customers called Compatible Partners. eHarmony’s launch of Compatible Partners was called a “shotgun wedding” by the Los Angeles Times, though. There wasn’t even a link to Compatible Partners at eHarmony.
Furthermore, Compatible Partners had a completely different subscription system. Bisexuals had to pay two subscription fees to have access to both sexes.
Warren told Yahoo! that the change hurt his company — but not because it was a bad business move. Instead, he says, it’s because Christian critics of same-sex marriage were so furious, they could have become dangerous:
“I think this issue of same-sex marriage within the next five to 15 years will be no issue anymore. We’ve made too much of it. I’m tired of it. It has really damaged our company,” Warren said, “and when the attorney general of the state of New Jersey decided that we had to put up a same-sex site and we did it out of counsel that if we didn’t do it we were not going to have any business in New Jersey — we literally had to hire guards to protect our lives because the people were so hurt and angry with us, were Christian people, who feel that it’s a violation to scripture.
But no matter, says Warren. He thinks the whole thing should blow over soon, as long as we get to the bottom of this pesky “homosexuality” thing:
“I have said that eHarmony really ought to put up $10 million and ask other companies to put up money and do a really first class job of figuring out homosexuality. At the very best, it’s been a painful way for a lot of people to have to live. But at this point, at this age, I want America to start drawing together. I want it to be more harmonious.”
So basically, this guy acknowledges that fellow Christians are the ones who threatened his company and his well-being… but he’s blaming it on the gays. Oh, and we should all be “harmonious”… by totally abandoning the concerns of gays and lesbians.
Haven’t heard that story before.