Following almost three years of litigation for a class-action suit brought by gays and lesbians, the popular online dating site eHarmony.com agreed January 26th to pay $500,000 and become more receptive to same-sex seekers of their perfect mates.
The suit was brought when bisexuals accused the company of double-billing them for access to both sites. Bi individuals will now have access to both sites for a single fee.
The settlement was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Under its terms, eHarmony will add a “Gay & Lesbian Dating” category to its popular main Web site. Users will then be directed to CompatiblePartners.net, an affiliate service established last year by the Sacramento, California-based company.
The eHarmony.com site at present provides links for black, Hispanic, Christian, Jewish, and senior dating, among others. But it didn’t offer gay, lesbian and bisexual matchmaking services until last spring.
Under the terms of the settlement, eHarmony—founded in 2000 by evangelical Christian Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist—will establish a $2 million fund, with $500,000 going to pay gay, lesbian and bisexual Californians who can prove they were harmed by the site’s discriminatory policies (the rest will go for legal fees). Each is expected to receive around $4,000.
eHarmony has admitted to no wrongdoing. With its bank accounts lighter by $2 million, officials are free to contemplate the philosophical differences between “right“ and “wrong .”