Christian eHarmony Founder: Gay Marriage Damaged Our Company

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.

eHarmony CEO Neil Clark Warren

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.

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  • Me112233

    I think you misunderstand. Warren targeted his site towards Christian singles; and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson even endorsed the site on his radio show. This is a business of “knowing your customer.” Neil Clark Warren, Christian or not, is about as liberal as they come. If you will read between the lines in his quote in the article above, he really isn’t bothered by gay marriage; he simply recognized that it would be an issue with his core customers. Mr. Warren will be happy to take anybody’s money. But if YOU were going to cater to one group or the other, fact is there are a whole lot more straight people out there to rip off with that “29 points of compatibility” (which we all know only meant that the only thing you and the other person had in common is that you both paid to be on eharmony) and Christians are gullible, so an easy target. The gay matching is one thing that the Christains aren’t so understanding of, and Warren realized that putting up a site for 3% of the population would wreak havoc upon the 60% that he was targeting and already had a good customer base from. This deal is about the money, not really about moral or religious philosophies. I’d rather have 10% of the “straight Christian” market than 50% of the gay market. Just a whole lot more people to get money from.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Then he’s a bad ally, and even worse of a hypocrite because he’s trash talking people he supposedly supports.

  • Me112233

    You would be correct. The man is an opportunist, not a Christian. He thought up a way to make some money, and played the game to enrich himself. That man no more cares about the welfare of Christians than any other segment of society. His ONLY interest is lining his pocket with lots and lots of green money. He’s upset about the impact of being forced to cater to the demands of one or two gay people (via the court system), and how that was a net financial loss for him. Any time a tiny group of agitators forces you to change your business model, you often lose large chunks of your current customer base, and many times don’t even get the business of the agitators, let alone enough new business to replace the lost customers.

    As for the threats: If you asked him to provide any documentable evidence that some random Christian out there made a credible threat to him or his property, he would stutter and stammer, and come up with some sort of BS politician reply as to why he can’t do it.

  • Me112233

    That’s a ridiculous argument you offered up. He didn’t cater to married people, either, and we all know that “marital status” is one of the protected classes in most states. Yet, he wouldn’t knowingly permit married people sign up for the site.

  • Me112233

    That is publicity posturing. He can’t cite a single example of anyone trying to perpetrate any sort of physical harm. No doubt he suffered a small amount of financial harm when some people got mad and canceled their “service,” but that sort of tit-for-tat thing happens every time some business caves to pressure from a tiny handful of radicals. I haven’t been inside a JCPenny for two years now. When they started openly promoting all that is “gay,” I quit shopping there. Seriously now, a business whose core customer is middle-America decides they need Ellen Degeneres as their spokes model? And they run mother’s day ads featuring lesbian moms in one of the pictures? They have long supported non-discrimination for gays, which is fine, but when they start pushing the gay thing in major advertising activities, I’m out of there. Apparently, so were a lot of other customers.

  • Me112233

    Everyone in this thread is missing the “rest of the story.” Mr. Warren said he was threatened and he had to hire guards. But there is not one drop of proof he was ever threatened by anyone. The guards he hired are just as likely routine security personnel. The man can’t be trusted with much of anything; he calls himself “Christian,” but has long ignored the teachings of the Bible, even in the conduct of his dating site. The guards are for show, so he can divert attention from the issue at hand — that his inclusion of gay dating violates Biblical principles, and instead of caving in, he should have shut the site down . . . but there is one thing that certainly all people can agree with the Bible on — “Money is a root of all evil.”