The day after online dating site eHarmony reached a settlement with the New Jersey attorney general’s office regarding gay and lesbian customers, a California Superior Court judge ruled that a separate case could proceed as a class-action.
Linda Carlson sued eHarmony in May 2007 for refusing to match gay and lesbian couples. The policy, she claimed, is a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prevents business establishments from discriminating based on sexual orientation. For personal reasons, Carlson has since been replaced by Nate Cardin as the lead plaintiff.
Judge Victoria Chaney of the California Superior Court in Los Angeles granted the motion for class certification this week. It will allow gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals who were denied service from eHarmony dating back to 2004 to join the case as a class participant. Individuals do not have to prove actual injury to obtain damages, just that they visited eHarmony and were denied service.
“The details are yet to be determined but typically it’s done by submitting an affidavit or a claim form,” said Joshua Konecky of Schneider Wallace Cottrell Brayton Konecky, LLP, the firm representing the plaintiffs.
EHarmony did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the California case.
A Wednesday settlement with the New Jersey attorney general’s office requires eHarmony.com to start matching gay couples by March 2009. EHarmony said it would set up a separate site, dubbed Compatible Partners, which will provide its services to gay and lesbian patrons. …