Federally-funded website ignores same-sex couples

Posted by Jamie McGonnigal on talkaboutequality.wordpress.com:

"You may recall a few years ago when Chemistry.com began running ads with gay men and lesbians who were “Rejected by eHarmony.” This was in response to the fact that eHarmony only offered heterosexual dating match-ups. They were sued and ordered to begin a same-sex dating site, which they did. Then back in January of this year, they were ordered to end the segregation and merge the two sites after another successful lawsuit which they settled.

"Then last week, I was riding the train and I saw an advertisement for a relationship/marriage advice website called Twoofus.org, and I noticed it had the emblem of the US Dept of Health and Human Services. So I thought I’d check it out. Unsurprisingly, after spending a few hours combing the site, searching 'gay,' 'lesbian,' 'same-sex' and a number of other terms, I discovered there was absolutely zero recognition of same-sex couples.

"Knowing that this was a federally-funded program, I thought I’d write a little note to the people at Twoofus.org and their 'sister site,' National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. I kept my note simple and concise, never referring to marriage equality, just asking if their site was for heterosexuals exclusively or if they offered advice for people like me?

"A few days later, I received their rather nuanced response which very specifically put the blame squarely on the federal government for creating the policy that said they couldn’t cover marriages of same-sex couples.

"I found it particularly interesting that they clearly imply that it is their federal grant which doesn’t allow them to acknowledge same-sex relationships.

"Unshockingly…I managed to find a recommended author on twoofus.org who some of you may recognize as well, The National Organization for Marriage’s own Maggie Gallagher.

"What many have forgotten is the fact that Gallagher was under fire about 5 years ago for violating journalistic ethics when she failed to disclose that she was being paid tens of thousands of dollars by the Bush administration for her work on The President’s Healthy Marriage Initiative. While getting paid these tens of thousands, she used her position as a syndicated journalist to preach Bush’s agenda while at the same time doing her best to attack gay families and marriage equality. While Gallagher may not have any direct relationship with Twoofus.org, she should be grateful that they are peddling her book.

"Calls to the Administration for Children and Families (the branch of the US Dept of Health and Human Services which administer’s the Twoofus.org grant) were not returned as of this afternoon. ...

"As of right now though, it does seem that the federal government is giving grants to an organization which outrightly practices discrimination and blames it on a government policy.

"If eHarmony.com is required by law to include same-sex couples, shouldn’t a federally-funded marriage/relationship website?

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