Federally-Funded Website Provides Help for (Straight) Couples

27 Dec

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 same-sex marriage, 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 same-sex marriages.

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. We will let you know should we get any response from them.

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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3 Responses to “Federally-Funded Website Provides Help for (Straight) Couples”

  1. Nicky February 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    You have correctly identified another example of the impact of DOMA. Same-sex marriage and marriage services to same-sex couples are equally prohibited within federal programs.
    As documented in “Let Them Eat Wedding Rings,” a critique of marriage promotion funded by federal anti-poverty programs (including the Two of Us website):
    In May 2004, ACF stated that “Activities supported under [its] program would be subject to the Defense of Marriage Act and, therefore, same-sex couples could not receive marriage services. However, all individuals and couples would continue to be eligible for various forms of public assistance as needed and for relationship skills training under other federal programs, including the Federal Safe and Stable Families Act. A portion of the $400 million annually available under the Safe and Stable Families Act can be used to provide “family support” and “family preservation” activities that include relationship and
    conflict resolution skills building, and these services are available to same-sex couples.” Source: “Will Same-Sex Couples Be Eligible for Healthy Marriage Initiative Services? 5/18/04″ [cited 6/4/2007] available from: http://faq.acf.hhs.gov (Answer ID 1262).

    The Alternatives to Marriage Project continues to watchdog the use of federal anti-poverty funds to promote marriage. Please check out our latest updates at http://unmarried.org/blog/category/marriage-promotion/ and learn all about the decade-plus effort at http://www.unmarried.org/welfare.html
    And please join us!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Federally-Funded Website Provides Help for (Straight) Couples #LGBT -- Topsy.com - December 28, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anthony Zarsky and others. Anthony Zarsky said: RT @takebackpride: Federally-Funded Website Provides Help for (Straight) Couples http://bit.ly/fF9hYM #LGBT @twoofusorg @NOMtweets @hhsg … [...]

  2. Quora - February 1, 2011

    Twoofus.org has quite a bit of misogynistic content & is completely heteronormative, who is behind this site?…

    Let’s break this all down: Operations/Management Chain Twoofus.org — run by –> The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) NHMRC — run by –> Public Strategies, Inc. Public Strategies, Inc. — run by –> Mary Myrick Funding Chain Deficit…

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