I’ve written before about how eHarmony’s ads pitch a product that’s exclusively about nice American people with American accents finding traditional same-race chaste marital love, and everyone else can go jump off a bridge. And about how it appealed to the male gaze with commercials featuring men suffering through bad dates until they throw those damn women out of their homes in the middle of dinner. Now, you and I might think yelling “Get out of my house!” at someone you invited is rude.
But Dr. Warren, founder of eHarmony, is an evangelical Christian. Not a regular Christian, mind you – not the sadly under-hyped type that reads Jesus’ words, gets the message of love (even loving sinners! no, seriously!) and concentrates more on leading an exemplary life than on excluding or punishing those they disagree with. No, he’s the type of Christian who reads select bits of the Old Testament and gets out of them that women should appeal to men, or be punished.
He also has the idea that the Jesus who said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” would like him to operate his business in California even though he his service rejects non-heterosexual applicants, in conflict with California anti-discrimination laws. Forget debates about homosexuality in the Bible and all that – Warren has right to believe whatever he believes. But the founder of his own religion advises him not to place himself above the law.
Greed is the sole issue here. Warren could have pitched his service as one strictly for people looking for marriage, run it only in those states that don’t allow gay marriage, and avoided this entire mess quite legally. But that would cut out the profits he can earn from people who are just looking to date, or learn better selection strategies. No, he chose to present the service as open to anyone looking for real love when it’s clearly not.
I tested eHarmony a while back, just out of curiosity, and felt just as “othered” as I do in the offline heterosexual community that thinks my priorities are “wrong”. The one thing eHarmony has no metric for is the one thing I require: a lack of in-the-box stereotyped thinking. Oh, they offered me communists, because to people who pattern their lives after Father Knows Best communists and anarchist feminists sound pretty much alike.
It’s a shit system, and really, the queer community isn’t missing anything. But it should be their choice to give it a miss, point fingers and laugh.