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The Gay Lobby Takes on eHarmony

By Ross Kaminsky

A lawsuit filed by a Northern California lesbian against dating service eHarmony represents the types of excesses of the gay movement which do so much damage to their efforts to achieve public acceptance.

According to the Reuters article linked above, eHarmony "has long rankled the gay community with its failure to offer a 'men seeking men' or 'women seeking women' option."

Before getting down to more subtle arguments, let me say this: This lawsuit should be thrown out of court immediately, with the plaintiffs forced to pay any legal fees that eHarmony had incurred preparing for the case. But I fear it will not be.

eHarmony is a dating service founded by religious Christians who have done a lot of research on what makes heterosexual dating successful and likely to lead to marriage.

This means that a service for homosexuals is not only outside their area of expertise, but that it would be something they consider immoral.

To be clear, I am not a Christian nor I do not consider homosexuality to be immoral. I don't think there's any moral content at all in the sexual behavior of two consenting adults as long as nobody gets hurt and they're not breaking promises (such as marriage vows).

Despite what Big Nanny government wants to tell us, private people and private enterprise should have the right to discriminate. I might not like it if I am the recipient of such discrimination, but particularly when the refusal to provide service comes from a religious principle, it seems obvious to me that the more important right is the free exercise of one's religion.

Despite Big Nanny's views to the contrary, government has no role in forcing a company to provide a service to any particular person regardless of that company's reason for denying service other than in the case of a monopoly provider (like a utility company, for example) or in providing emergency health care or any other service where the result of not providing it would be serious injury or death.

I understand that many will think, "What about the South before the Civil Rights movement?" and it is indeed a valid question. My answer is this: Although segregation in private businesses was unconscionable, it was not unconstitutional. The same can not be said of offering public/government services, in which case there must not be discrimination. So, while I would have allowed a restaurant to be as ignorant, racist, and disgusting as they wanted to be, I would not have allowed a public bus to be segregated. Lofty goals do not make a policy correct or constitutional.

A few more sentences from the Reuters article:

According to the lawsuit, Carlson, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, tried to use the site's dating services in February 2007. When she was denied access, she wrote to eHarmony saying that its anti-gay policy was discriminatory under California law but the company refused to change it.

"Such outright discrimination is hurtful and disappointing for a business open to the public in this day and age," she said.

Carlson's lawyer Todd Schneider said the lawsuit was "about changing the landscape and making a statement out there that gay people, just like heterosexuals, have the right and desire to meet other people with whom they can fall in love."

Think about some of the "principles" being promulgated by the plaintiff and her attorney:

* Government should get involved in ordering a private business to serve particular people because the business not serving them is "hurtful and disappointing". I would laugh if it weren't actually fairly likely that the People's Republic of California might agree with her incredible intrusion on that business. It's as ridiculous as the lawsuit some years back aimed at getting a girl on to a boy's sports team. People, you do not have the right never to be offended.

* The fact that all people regardless of sexual preference have a "right to fall in love" means that any business which is involved in facilitating relationships must cater to everyone. Again, this is truly insane and an incredible intrusion into every aspect of the business. What if they believe they can't make as much money catering to a particular market? What if they don't want to serve a particular market because of moral objections? What if because of either or both of those beliefs they do not have the depth of understanding of the market who wants to be served that they have of their primary market? What if serving that market would cost them many current customers who would object? Any one of those reasons should be more than good enough for a company simply not to serve the market it doesn't want to serve.

Could you imagine the outcry from gays if someone tried to force a gay website to provide dating services for heterosexuals? Or a religious group that promotes heterosexual marriage demanding a float in a gay pride parade?

Should Victoria's Secret be forced to sell lingerie for gay men, whatever that might be?

People are different. Not every business wants to or is capable of serving every person, and whom a business chooses to serve is its private decision.

The biggest problem with gay activism is that they want to be treated as special or as victims when it suits them, and as "just like anybody else" when it suits them. Indeed that is the problem with activists of many stripes, not just based on sexual orientation. In my view, they are not special, and although they have occasionally been victims, they are primarily just like anybody else. And just like anybody else, they have to realize that not every business sells a product they want and that they do not have the right to force the business to cater to them.

My guess is that this suit stands a real chance of being decided for the plaintiff in lower courts because it is in California, and probably would be upheld in the extremely liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (unless there is some interesting jurisdictional aspect that might work in favor of eHarmony). I would expect it to be overturned (but just barely) if it gets to the Supreme Court. I hope that the founder of eHarmony fights this suit as far as possible. It deserves not only to be beaten back, but to be slapped down with the same antipathy which all such activists show toward the most fundamental rights of Americans in their private lives, including Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Association, which I emphasize includes the right not to associate.

Ross Kaminsky blogs at Rossputin.com

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