When it comes to the wondrous world of internet dating, there seems to be a site to match every personality. Quirky singles unite on the Onion’s personals site; those looking for the hot, redneck lesbian of your dreams need look no further than redneckandsingle.com.
With so many options for the LGBT community, why would we bother with a site that showed disdain for us from the start? Will we welcome the “formerly” anti-gay eHarmony’s new gay site, Compatible Partners, which launched Tuesday, with open checkbooks?
In 2000, we started seeing commercials about an internet dating service that helps folks find true love through a “Compatibility Matching System.” It’s patented, and oh-so-scientific. The site’s founder, Neil Clark Warren, based the system on his experience as a psychologist, where, evidently, he did not encounter any gays.
“It’s what I did for 40 years,” Warren told the Los Angles Times. “I never had a gay couple.”
For the record, Warren is born-again Christian, and evangelical Christians did much of his site’s promotion. This pissed off many people, but especially the gays, who were not allowed to use the site. The company was slapped with lawsuits alleging discrimination, and in New Jersey — the company settled, and promised to include the gays.
And thus Compatible Partners, the gay love child of an anti-discrimination lawsuit in New Jersey, was born. So what now?
In an interview with CEO and founding investor of eHarmony, Greg Waldorf, 365Gay writer Kate X Messer learned that the company wants to make amends with the gay community.
“The bad feelings that may have existed in the past — from the gay community to eHarmony — I hope, over time, will dissipate,” Waldorf said. “I realize that we’re starting from a position that not everyone thinks highly of us. And I hope people will judge us based on the service that we offer. I believe that we are going to enter this market with the same commitment and credibility around offering individuals a high-quality way to find long-term relationships. And how we got here, to me, is just not relevant.”
Not relevant? I don’t think we feel that way. In what we thought was a possible move to appease its gay critics, eHarmony sponsored Ellen’s version of The Newlywed Game when she had Portia on as a guest in March, but the site actually is sponsoring the entire Newlywed Game series on the Game Show Network, so as Snarker said, it wasn’t exactly a “flash of gay good will.”
In any case, eHarmony is taking a load of heat from conservatives for launching Compatible Partners in the first place. They are accused of pushing the “gay agenda” and being bullied by the government. Are they in a lose/lose situation?
As the right-wingers start calling the site Gay Mecca, their evangelical base is sure to falter. And, really, are we going to give our time (and money) to a site that rejected us so vehemently for more than eight years when we can go to sites that included us from the start?
Would you use Compatible Partners to find your queer match, or shop elsewhere?