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Is it just me, or...

Does this story add credence to the Question 8 proponents' paranoid rantings about the kind of intrusions into private life that its failure would lead to? What are the details behind this lawsuit, anyone know? What's the argument they used to force this?

Comments

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
geekosaur
Nov. 20th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
I'd say the opposite: when they can't get legal equality, they try other means. (Much as the pro-8 types have been, so if they bitch they're being hypocrites — then again, we already knew that.)

Although in another sense it may well be exactly what they're afraid of: it's rumored that eHarmony is run by near-fundies.
crs
Nov. 20th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Huh?
(no subject) - awfief - Nov. 20th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC) - Expand
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dpolicar
Nov. 20th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
Well, if I understand the article, the argument that "forced" this in particular was "we're not sure we can win, so we're settling".

But yeah, absolutely, question 8 proponents and their political allies will use it to argue that equal rights laws for same-sex couples will lead to intrusions into private life. They'll represent eHarmony's choice to represent only straight people in their business model as precisely the sort of non-discriminatory practice that the law should support.

What do you think?


dpolicar
Nov. 20th, 2008 04:46 am (UTC)
Having asked the question, I suppose I should answer it myself.

I totally agree that passing laws giving same-sex couples legal recourse in discrimination cases will necessarily interfere with business' freedom to deny services to same-sex couples.

I think there exist services for which that tradeoff is legitimate.

Honestly, dating services aren't high on that list for me, and if we were really only talking about dating services, I'd shrug my shoulders, condemn eHarmony's choice, and walk away. (Similar things are true for other kinds of discrimination, for example based on skin color.)

But, of course, that's not primarily what we're talking about when this issue comes up.
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(Anonymous)
Nov. 20th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
E-Harmony and lawsuit by gay community
They are determined to take this country to hell with their perversions. Have you ever seen an empire or a country last when their morals sink down to any and every type of perversion. And when, they try to legitimize it? It is sickening to have to read and hear about this dating service, Prop 8, a man having a baby (really a woman from birth). Where does it end? AS if we don't have enough problems with the economy and everything else, I think they just want the attention. There are all kinds of outlets for gay dating that do not offer it for non-homosexuals.

Regardless of what they do, I will stick with my morals and what I know to be right. I accept the fact that some sexes like the same sex, I am just tired of it being shoved up my nose as moral.
dpolicar
Nov. 20th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
Re: E-Harmony and lawsuit by gay community
For my part, if you gave up anonymity, I'd do my part to stay as far from your nose as I could get.
Re: E-Harmony and lawsuit by gay community - shaggy_man - Nov. 20th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: E-Harmony and lawsuit by gay community - tirianmal - Nov. 20th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
mathhobbit
Nov. 20th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
In my opinion, we're wasting our time and crushing ourselves under a load of redundant legislation every time we create a new law dictating equality for one group or another.

Blacks have equal rights
Women have equal rights
The disabled have equal rights
Gays have equal rights
Old people have equal rights

We shouldn't have to fight the same battle over and over. In an efficient legal system, we'd have one amendment saying everyone has equal rights and the Supreme Court could rule on what rights those are and who has them.

dpolicar
Nov. 21st, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
Sure.

It's also true that blacks, women, the disabled, gays, old people, whites, men, the abled, straights, and young people have rights to choose who they wish to hang out with, work with, live with, do business with, rent to, etc.

The question arises, from time to time, of what to do when these various rights come into conflict.

When it comes to civil rights legislation, we more or less adopt the attitude that when we can demonstrate a pervasive pattern of prejudice that interferes with a particular group getting to enjoy its civil rights, we can declare that group a protected class. Thereafter, when their rights come into conflict with someone else's -- for example, when they want to rent an apartment and the landlord doesn't want to rent to them -- the law is more likely to defend their rights than the "someone else's".

Many people object to this, arguing that this practice is itself discriminatory and we should offer the same protection to everyone. Some argue this from a moral perspective, others from a pragmatic perspective similar to what you articulate here.

I'm not arguing against the position here, though I don't share it myself. But it's worth understanding that it's not redundant.

The whole point here is to identify particular groups whose rights we want to focus attention on protecting, because we feel those rights are being challenged more than the norm and they therefore deserve legal attention. You can object to that, but you should understand that replacing that practice with a simple legal assertion of equality doesn't get the same results.
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orbitalmechanic
Nov. 20th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
If you're asking whether the pro-8 crowd will say I Told You so, then probably yes. If you're asking whether a business is private life, then no. (The difficulty with the "private life" argument is that it makes no sense: "I have to intrude on your private life because if I don't, you'll intrude on mine, and no one should intrude on private life!")
(Anonymous)
Nov. 21st, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Well, there goes JDate. Because if you aren't allowed to target a specific market anymore....

One of the big issues around marriage and discrimination is that a celebrant is quite often discriminatory - most won't marry folks out of their religion, many won't out of their own congregation. In fact, the CCAR will sell you a list of area rabbis with their specific discriminatory practices, so you can find one that will marry you. Are we going to assert that a rabbi must marry Christians? A high priestess marry Muslims?

And on a side note, commenters that use derogatory terms like "fundies" out to be noted by the journal host.
abce
Nov. 21st, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
Next time, I need to log in first. Reply to this comment if you want me to see it.
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tirianmal
Nov. 21st, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
But eHarmony isn't a context specific matchmaking service ...
I think I have a problem with eHarmony in this case. I think they -should- have lost. Their mission statement is that of finding compatible relationships for people.

Note, not for "christian" people, or "jewish" people, or "straight" people, but for people. In fact I think that if they operated, as per JDate, on the desire for people to look for a partner in a particular context, then they should in fact be allowed to match only those partnerships. I do in fact believe that JDate ought to be allowed to exist, after all there's nothing in the Constitution that says -I- have to include all races, creeds and religions among those I consider for marriage. But no, they (eHarmony) seem to be a general matchmaking service.

If that's the case, then they ought to allow for folks seeking same sex matches.

Should they be allowed to become a "christians" only matchmaking service? If they so desire, SURE, more power to them. But I suspect they'd lose out on a lot of their customers and that would not be in their interest or their business model.


Edited at 2008-11-21 10:20 pm (UTC)
dpolicar
Nov. 22nd, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: But eHarmony isn't a context specific matchmaking service ...
What you seem to be saying is precisely that they are not, in fact, a general matchmaking service -- that they serve only a subset of the addressable market.

Now, it's possible that they advertise themselves as one (I have no idea) and could therefore be sued for false advertising or fraud. Even there, though, the most likely remedy is that they'd have to stop such advertising.

One doesn't have to identify as Christian simply because one discriminates against gays.
ext_33407
Dec. 4th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
As for the 'mormon tax exemption'
Sorry, responding to a comment WAY back...
I don't support harassing the mormons because I don't think citizen mobs should engage in practices targetting organized religion in general (which is why I will not protest in front of their churches and whatnot). HOWEVER, I fully support the IRS looking into what happened here, because there is a very valid question here).

(IRS pub 1828):
In general, no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying). An IRC section 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.


It's rumored that the LDS raised $20m of the $30m that was raised by the Yes on 8 campaign. That means that unlike the No on 8 campaign, 2/3's of the donations to yes on 8 were effectively tax exempt (or could skip the approximate 25% penalty). IF you believe that money -> success (which is usually true here), then the 'yes on 8' campaign got an unintended boost (18% or so). Given how close the vote was here (52% yes) it does seem to matter to many.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 4th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
and now to the main question :)

I'm pretty sure your question has already been answered. The 'Yes on 8' crowd is already pointing to this as an example of the militant gay agenda.
I don't think most people believe that the case would have been won (a private business *IS* allowed to discriminate -- boy scouts of america). However, the question the NJ case brought up was the fact that the company didn't make it clear that it was policy, and instead pretended to accept all applicants and then systematically rejected all gays (also all atheists).

I think they settled quickly because they didn't want to spend the money fighting it. Additionally, they have a similar class action case going in CA over the same principle (so a lot more money to be lost).

So anyways, this is back to the same problem of 'legitimate business interest' in discrimination. There are many dating sites that target a specific group (gay only, muslim or jewish only, etc). However, none claim to be universal and then quietly reject non-conforming individuals.

Similarly, there are many bars that target specific subcultures (gay, biker, college student, etc). I am not aware of any lawsuits targetting those establishments for discriminatory practices either...

Meh. I think e-Harmony should have been left alone to do its stupid thing. It was actually fun to see the Chemistry.com ads mocking it. And the e-Harmony solution still seems broken for bisexuals -- another lawsuit?
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