Wednesday, November 19, 2008

eHarmony Forced to Market to Gays and Lesbians

eHarmony next year will launch a matching service called Compatible Partners, which will be marketed to gays and lesbians.
The Pasadena, Calif.-based company’s announcement was the result of a settlement reached today with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which claimed in a lawsuit eHarmony violated the state’s Law Against Discrimination by not offering a same-sex matching service.

The New Jersey regulator got involved following a complaint by Eric McKinley, a gay match-seeker in the state, who now will be provided a free, one-year membership to Compatible Partners.

In addition, the settlement calls for eHarmony Inc. to pay McKinley $5,000, and to pay New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights $50,000 to cover investigation-related administrative costs.

eHarmony faces another suit in California. It’s unclear how this settlement will affect that case.

“Now that we’re entering the same-sex matching market, we fail to see what the [California] plaintiffs could achieve through further litigation,” said Antone Johnson, a vice president of legal affairs at eHarmony.

eHarmony was founded in 2000 by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist with once-close ties to the Christian evangelical group Focus on the Family.

Governor Schwarzenegger predicts Supreme Court will overturn Prop 8

The Governor of California has said that the state Supreme Court was right to rule a ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

On election day, November 4th, Californians voted in favour of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that seeks to change the state constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

Schwarzenegger says "I think that the Supreme Court was right and that everyone should have the right. So the Supreme Court, you know, I think ought to go and look at that again. And we'll go back to the same decision. I think that they will. And I think that the important thing now is to resolve this issue in that way."

His wife Maria Shriver, a niece of former President John F Kennedy, has been a strong supporter of gay marriage.

Governor Schwarzenegger said he would not be joining 44 members of the California State Legislature who have filed a "friend of the court" brief in the state Supreme Court backing legal challenges to Proposition 8.

The legislators said that the ballot measure "eviscerates the judicial branch's ability to uphold the fundamental rights of all Californians under equal protection clause" of the state constitution.

They claimed that if Proposition 8 takes effect, "this court will no longer be the final arbiter of the rights of minorities.

"Furthermore, treating Proposition 8 as a mere amendment would divest the Legislature of its constitutional authority to subject such a fundamental abrogation of the equal protection clause to its deliberative processes."

Wanda Sykes Comes Out at Prop 8 Rally

Comedian and actress Wanda Sykes officially came out this weekend, announcing to the estimated crowd of 1,000 gathered in Las Vegas at one of the many rallies for gay rights taking place around the country on Saturday that she’s gay, and that she legally married her wife in California on Oct. 25.

Sykes (who divorced her husband of seven years in 1998), has spoken out about gay rights issues many times in the past, recently participated in a campaign to fight anti-gay slurs, and has openly referred to her wife in some of her stand-up routines.

But she has always declined to specifically discuss her sexual orientation publicly — until now.

“I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation," she told the crowd at the Las Vegas GLBT Community Center. "I didn’t feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life."

"Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay. But that’s the way people should be able to live their lives.”

But the passage of Proposition 8, she told them, spurred her decision to officially come out. “ We took a huge leap forward and then got dragged 12 feet back. I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked — our community was attacked."

“Now, I gotta get in their face," she continued. "I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be a black woman, and I’m proud to be gay.”