Linda Carlson said she tried to use the Internet site in February to meet a woman but could not based on her sexual orientation. When Carlson wrote to eHarmony to complain, the company refused to change its policy, according to the lawsuit filed on her behalf in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The lawsuit claims that by only offering to find a compatible match for men seeking women or women seeking men, the company was violating state law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
"Such outright discrimination is hurtful and disappointing for a business open to the public in this day and age," Carlson said in a statement.
The lawsuit names Pasadena-based eHarmony.com Inc., company founder Neil Clark Warren and his wife Marylyn, the company's former vice president, as defendants. It seeks class-action status, a jury trial and unspecified damages.
The company, which conducts extensive personality profiling before introducing couples with matching values and interests, denied the allegation.
"The research that eHarmony has developed, through years of research, to match couples has been based on traits and personality patterns of successful heterosexual marriages," a company statement said. "Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future, it's just not a service we offer now based upon the research we have conducted."
Warren is a clinical psychologist who has written several books about dating and relationships.