Thursday, November 20, 2008

E Harmony Forced to Make Homosexual Matches

E Harmony, a nationally famous dating service has agreed to start offering its match making services to homosexual clientele according to a story from Associated Press carried in today’s New York Post.

According to the story, E Harmony”will begin providing same-sex matches as part of a settlement with New Jersey’s Civil Rights Division. “New Jersey resident Eric McKinley filed a legal complaint against the E Harmony with the New Jersey authorities in 2005.

E Harmony once successfully defended itself against a suit which faulted them for refusing a client whose divorce had not been finalised in the courts. Understandably, the matchmaking magnate did not want facilitate adultery through the assistance they offered to clients. That legal suit was described at the time as follows on siliconvalley.com.

“John Claassen wants a date so badly he’s suing for one.He’s taking eHarmony.com to court, because the popular online matchmaker refused to find him the perfect mate.Why? Because he is married.Technically, Claassen says, he is legally separated. But that’s not good enough for eHarmony, which says it is in the business of matching singles.”

Public opinion was strongly aligned with e-Harmony in that dispute. The courts agreed. E Harmony was not forced to accept business from applicants who are according to legal definitions committing adultery. Apparently those cheating on their spouses have not yet organised themselves as a sexual constituency. Homosexuals however are recognised under our libidocratic form of government as a protected constituency.

E Harmony probably had a stronger case against a married plaintiff because of marriage being a contract. A person who is having an extramarital relationship is violating terms of exclusivity and full disclosure inherent in most reasonable understandings of the marriage contract. Additionally, in some jurisdictions adultery remains a criminal offense . In any case, it puts a person in the midst of a divorce at a legal disadvantage. E Harmony was thus able to defend itself without reference to the seventh commandment, a subversive text banning adultery that is banned from display in secular courts of law in the United States.

The capitulation of E Harmony is regrettable on two levels. The acceptance of homosexuality as being normal is a departure from Judaeo Christian tradition. In our country, no one faith can enforce its tenets upon those of other persuasions. Thus the case for campaigning against homosexual behavior must rest upon assistance and persuasion rather than legal compulsion.

In commerce, a person is not compelled to sell a particular commodity. In my neighbourhood, pork products are not sold in Jewish stores. A few Muslim stores also observe this prohibition. Vegetarian restaurants are likewise not compelled to offer meat. News stands are in a different legal predicament. Sometimes they are given a list of magazines by a supplier. Sometimes, the supplier says that the list is a package deal and coerces them into carrying pornography. I know of several news dealers who refused to carry pornographic material, who stood their ground with the news dealers. Though motivated by moral considerations, they were able to argue that their clientele would boycott their store if they carried objectionable material. I know of some groceries that will only carry newspapers that reflect their political persuasion.

Pork,porn and party politics are all factors that are considered by Brooklyn storekeepers. These are still considered to be the personal prerogative of the store owner who is stocking his shelves. There is an overtly religious dimension to many of these commercial choices.

If a homosexual were refused service in a restaurant or grocery , most people would object to the intrusion on privacy. It would also be illegal.

A person who is facilitating a marriage is according to most religious traditions facilitating the performance of a commandment. A Jew, a Muslim or any faith community with dietary laws views food preparation and consumption as an act governed by religious law. Those who refuse to sell food forbidden according to their faith do not want to facilitate what they believe is a sin. Forcing a person to facilitate homosexual marriages is like forcing them to sell food that violates their religion. It is no different than forcing a Mormon to sell beverages with caffeine or compelling a Muslim to sell alcohol.

Those who wish to facilitate gay matches and marriages are free to study existing businesses and produce a working model for their market niche. Nothing stops them from starting a homosexual dating service.

Religious teachings address every aspect of private and societal conduct. America has been a magnet for religious diversity. There are missionaries and there are people who are annoyed by missionaries. If such an individual comes to your door, you can order him to leave. But you can not enter his house of worship and tell him what to preach. You may not tell his congregation what rituals or sacraments they must perform. This needs to be spelled out. Will clergy be required to officiate at gay marriages? The Human Rights Commission ruling concerning E Harmony seems to mark the top of a slippery slope. Christians, Jews and other faith communities do not only depend upon their houses of worship for their way of life. They also depend upon commercial enterprises. The kosher or halal meat store, the religious book store or even the clothing store that caters to Muslim or Jewish modesty codes are all taxable businesses. Although they may not discriminate against customers, they have a right to sell merchandise and offer services that are consistent with their beliefs. The Human Rights Commission deprives millions of Americans of a critical array of civil liberties through their poorly thought out decision.

The liberties that have made America a light to the world are under attack and in serious danger of erosion and elimination. Even if you personally favour homosexual marriage, this latest legal move should trouble you.

America is a land of raucous diversity. Christians and Jews, Hindus and Muslims manage to find peace where elsewhere they might be at war. Hedonists and ascetics vegetarians and meat eaters all manage to live together. I used to shop at a store run by a Hindu and a Muslim. Each ofthem covered for the other on their respective holidays and during their daily prayer times despite their mutually exclusive theologies.

The intolerance of a minority can be as stifling and oppressive as majoritarian tyranny. E Harmony compromised by opening a clearly delineated homosexual dating service. Perhaps they thought that a fight based on principle would be too costly. It is a pity, because this was a battle that needed to be fought. This case was started in 2005. Even if another suit is filed today, it will be a good while before liberty has its day in court. And that is a pity. Sphere: Related Content

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