- (Photo: Screenshot/Yahoo! Finance)
Neil Clark Warren, Christian co-founder and CEO of the popular online dating site eHarmony, recently spoke on how he believes the same-sex marriage debate has "damaged his company," and that he hopes America can "be more harmonious" on the issue.
"I think this issue of same-sex marriage within the next five to 15 years will be no issue anymore. We've made too much of it. I'm tired of it. It has really damaged our company," Warren, who founded eHarmony in 2000 with the promotional help of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit Christian values organization, told Yahoo! Finance in a recent interview.
Warren, who describes himself in the interview as a "passionate follower of Jesus," went on to speak about the settlement reached in a 2008 New Jersey's Civil Rights Division discrimination case.
The dating website, which was originally angled toward Christian singles, was sued because it did not offer matching options for homosexual singles.
As a result of the 2008 lawsuit, the company launched Compatible Partners in 2009, an online dating website which caters to same-sex couples.
Warren went on to tell Yahoo! that his company implemented this same-sex friendly website so that it may continue providing service in the state of New Jersey. He noted that many Christians were so upset with the change that the company's executives had to hire guards to protect them in public.
"… we literally had to hire guards to protect our lives because the people were so hurt and angry with us, were Christian people, who feel that it's a violation to Scripture," Warren added.
Warren concluded the interview by saying: "I have said that eHarmony really ought to put up $10 million and ask other companies to put up money and do a really first class job of figuring out homosexuality."
"At the very best, it's been a painful way for a lot of people to have to live. But at this point, at this age, I want America to start drawing together. I want it to be more harmonious," Warren added.
According to a May 2005 article published by USA Today, Warren was, at the time, attempting to distance his company from his evangelical roots, especially its connection to Focus on the Family.
Warren, who is a longtime friend of Focus on the Family's founder James Dobson, reportedly stopped appearing on Dobson's radio show and bought back the rights to three of his books, published by Focus on the Family.
"We're trying to reach the whole world – people of all spiritual orientations, all political philosophies, all racial backgrounds," Warren told USA Today regarding his company's separation from Focus on the Family, which was one of the first media outlets to air and promote eHarmony.
"And if indeed, we have Focus on the Family on the top of our books, it is a killer. Because people do recognize them as occupying a very precise political position in this society and a very precise spiritual position," Warren added.
eHarmony has faced multiple lawsuits in the past regarding discrimination, as seen in the 2008 New Jersey settlement, from which Compatible Partners was born.
The company also settled a 2010 class action lawsuit in California after it was accused of discriminating against homosexuals because it did not link its eHarmony website to its Compatible Partners website.
The company ultimately agreed to link the two websites and allow people to use both without double initiation fees, according to The Associated Press.
eHarmony is an online dating website that uses patented algorithms to match singles via 29 compatibility dimensions.
When visiting other online dating websites for single Christians, such as ChristianMingle.com and Christiansingles,com, only heterosexual pairing options are offered.