Monday, August 22, 2005

Terry Gross questions eHarmony founder about exclusion of gays

I don't know whether it's intentional or whether she is just being thorough, but Fresh Air(1) host Terry Gross always seems to find the gay angle in most of her interviews. Last week, she interviewed(2) eHarmony(3) founder, psychologist, and Evangelical Christian Neil Clark Warren. After Warren proclaims that eHarmony provides services to (straight) couples of a wide-range of beliefs including atheists and Wiccans, Terry asks him why eHarmony declines to match gays and lesbians. He initially states that in his 30-year practice he has not counseled same-sex couples, he is not familiar with the dynamics of gay relationships, and the principles in same-sex relationships are probably different than straight relationships. Terry counters that he probably hasn't counseled Wiccans either. Warren then seems to evade the topic by explaining that eHarmony is based on matching people by religious similarities. Terry then slightly interrupts Warren's explanation by asking a more blunt question:
"Let me just ask you, are you sure it's not just because you are uncomfortable with homosexuality that you are not doing it as opposed to the fact that you haven't counseled a lot of gay couples because you know a lot of people say love is love and an attraction is an attraction and it might not be that different to match the tastes of a gay couple and straight couple?"(2)
Warren responds:
"You know it might not. I don't know that. I have a deep desire for gays and lesbians to be matched well if they are going to be together. The fact is that same-sex marriage in this country is largely illegal at this time and we do try to match people for marriage. So that is one issue for us. The other issue ... I don't try to sneak away from it. It's the biggest political, most contentious kind of question in American right now. And, you know, I have come up through the Christian side. I have a great amount of experience in all of that. And given the fact that we don't know much about it and given the fact that it is so inflammatory on both sides, we've tried to steer clear of it. ..."(2)
He continues to explain that he has spent a lot of time with an unnamed gay group that sought his advice for a similar matching website for gays. But he concludes, "We've taken a position right now that we choose not to do that."
What I love about Terry Gross is that she cut-off his seemingly BS answer and forced him to answer a well-reasoned and specific accusation. Although he tried to maintain a compassionate conservative answer, it seems his response is that he and eHarmony want to avoid controversy. Of course, by discriminating against gays and lesbians, eHarmony is inviting controversy from gay and lesbian groups. A more truthful response may have been that eHarmony does not want to offend its conservative Christian customer base. Norm! (1) (2) (3)


Norm! said...


CrackerLilo said...

What a cretin!

Glad to see you're updating, though. You're gettin' Blogrolled, boy! :-)