Thursday, June 28, 2007


The matchmaking Web site eHarmony's policy of not offering its services to gays has provoked a variety of responses. First, eHarmony is being sued under state civil-rights laws. Second, competitors have taken advantage of eHarmony's bad press by pointing out that they do offer their services to gays.

I have a few issues with using civil-rights laws. First, if a business does not want my money, I typically do not care to force that business to accept my money. Second, I am not sure that state legislators should make what is in effect a business decision, especially when they could do the same to gay-oriented Web sites. While California law on the subject may be pro-gay, other states can use, and have used, the same power to pass strongly anti-gay laws.

Also, the second option shows why we should favor economic liberty, not oppose it. A company that has to persuade me to part with my money is much more likely to take my interests seriously than an entity that can simply raise my taxes and then still deny me equal rights. When a company like eHarmony refuses to take my money, a competitor senses opportunity and fills the vacuum. Going to that competitor is a lot easier than emigrating to the Netherlands when Congress passes an anti-gay law.

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