eHarmony Founder: Marriage Equality Debate is Damaging My Company
Neil Clark Warren, the 78-year-old evangelical Christian CEO and founder of the online dating website eHarmony.com, gave a doozy of an interview last week. In his remarks, which were posted February 6, he told CNBC and Yahoo Finance that he’s “tired” of the debate over marriage equality. Not because he views marriage discrimination as an injustice or anything, no, but because he says the debate is harming his company.
“I think this issue of same-sex marriage within the next five to 15 years will be no issue anymore,” he said. “We’ve made too much of it. I’m tired of it. It has really damaged our company.”
Warren is referring to an agreement the company made with the state of New Jersey in 2009 to settle an anti-discrimination lawsuit. eHarmony reluctantly agreed to put up a separate matchmaking service for gay and lesbian singles called Compatible Partners after the New Jersey Attorney General told them that refusing to serve gays and lesbians would disqualify them from being able to do business in that state.
However, eHarmony’s conservative Christian core clientele — much of the site’s early growth is attributed to promotion by anti-gay evangelical pastors — did not like that at all. In fact, they were so angry about eHarmony launching even a separate site for gays and lesbians that some made violent threats. Warren said,
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.
Ahhh, there’s that Christian love again. Throw a bone to the gays and we’ll kill you. Can you feel it?
By the way, don’t let Warren’s admission that marriage equality is on the way fool you into thinking that he’s evolved on LGBT issues. In fact, he seemed to suggest that he believes the old, tired, thorougly-discredited evangelical canard that claims homosexuality is a miserable, empty “lifestyle”:
I have said that eHarmony really oughtto 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.
Sorry, Warren, but you’re wrong. First of all, homosexuality isn’t something one does (a “lifestyle”/”way… to live”), it’s an intrinsic part of who one is. More importantly, though, being gay or lesbian isn’t painful or miserable in and of itself. More importantly, though, being gay or lesbian isn’t painful or miserable in and of itself. In fact, most gays and lesbians live wonderfully happy, successful, fulfilling lives. It’s the self-righteous, patronizing, religion-based homophobic bigotry of people like you that causes pain and misery for many LGBT people. Thankfully, as you yourself obliquely acknowledged, the cultural tide is turning in favor of equality. Mother Nature will take care of the rest.
P.S. If you’re a straight ally of the LGBT community and you have an eHarmony account, I hope you’ll strongly consider withdrawing your financial support from this anti-gay company.
Originally posted at johnmbecker.com.