11.21.08] [After settling this week with New Jersey's Civil Rights Division, online dating service eHarmony will be required to create a new Web site catering to same-sex singles, reported the Associated Press (AP).
The settlement came three years after a New Jersey resident, Eric McKinley, 46, filed a complaint for not being given an option by the dating service for men seeking men.
McKinley called the 3-year-old incident in which he couldn’t find a match at the online dating service “frustrating,” “very humiliating” and “very hurtful,” according to the AP.
Neither the company nor its founder, Neil Clark Warren—who successfully marketed eHarmony to the Christian community in earlier years, including on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family—acknowledged any liability in the case.
Theodore B. Olson, an attorney for the Pasadena, Calif.-based eHarmony, said even though the company believed McKinley's complaint was “an unfair characterization of our business,” the company settled because of the unpredictable nature of litigation.
“eHarmony looks forward to moving beyond this legal dispute, which has been a burden for the company, and continuing to advance its business model of serving individuals by helping them find successful, long-term relationships,” Olson told the AP.
The case in New Jersey marked the first time that eHarmony loses a high-profile case based on similar discrimination complaints.