Online dating site settles suit by gays

Jan. 26, 2010 at 7:35 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The online dating site has settled a California lawsuit and agreed to make the site more user friendly for gays and lesbians, court records show.

The site, established in 2000 by an evangelical Christian, Neil Clark Warren, agreed to pay $500,000 as part of the settlement ending a 2 1/2-year legal battle, the Los Angeles Times reported. Citing a settlement agreement filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the newspaper said would direct those seeking same-sex matches to a service called Compatible Partners, which eHarmony initiated as part of a settlement in a separate legal challenge in New Jersey in 2009.

The settlement, which must be approved by a judge before it can take effect, calls for eHarmony to add a category for gay and lesbian dating to its main Web site, and to allow bisexual visitors access to both eHarmony and Compatible Partners for a single fee, the newspaper said.

The main site already features specialty links for Christian, African-American, Jewish, Hispanic, senior and local matches, the Times said.

The web site had argued its method for establishing compatibility was based on data from studies of married heterosexuals. The site also argued in court filings there are dating Web sites that specialize in same-sex matches so eHarmony "does not stand alone among companies that provide their relationship-matching services to a single sexual orientation."

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