Battle for Love

Juliana Berger

Chemistry teacher Nathan Cardin decided to try dating websites when he was a graduate student at Stanford, but found himself unable to use eHarmony because he is gay and there were only two options for matchmaking: male searching for female and female searching for male.

“It was kind of like a triple take,” Cardin said, “Then a fundamental realization of: ‘I’m not included. I’m not part of that,’ and it got me mad.”

So when he heard in 2009 that a law firm was looking for people to talk to about problems they had with discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals on the dating website eHarmony, he decided to call.

“I’ve always been the type of person that if something has to get done, someone has to do it so it might as well be me,” Cardin said, “I’ll just put myself out there.”

The lawsuit against eHarmony was first filed in 2007, and Cardin joined it as lead plaintiff in 2009. It claimed that eHarmony violated Unruh Civil Rights Act in California, which states that businesses based in California cannot discriminate against people based on characteristics including sexual orientation.

The lawsuit was settled in 2010, before heading to court. EHarmony created a settlement fund and changed its website to allow for same-sex pairing as an option on its main site, instead of users being redirected to another relationship website owned by the company.

“It’s one more message that says that it’s not okay to discriminate against people because you don’t like who they are,” Cardin said.

Cardin met his now fiancé, Ben Procter, on around the time of his involvement with the suit. The couple plans to marry over spring break, just months before the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage across the United States.

“It’s ridiculous that we’re up to this point, and we’re doing a fantastic job, but we’ve been having to piecemeal 50 states, one state at a time,” he said. “So, it would be nice to just have a one and done. Let’s just have the Supreme Court get it done, and everyone will see that the world’s not going to end.”

Cardin and Procter will be married the first weekend of spring break before going on a honeymoon in England. They will also be holding receptions for their extended families in Kansas and New Hampshire over the summer.

The couple decided to have a smaller and more relaxed vibe for their wedding.

“What would we want to hang out and have on a Friday or Saturday night?” Cardin said, “What do we usually get on Saturday night? Tacos and cupcakes. So we just did that. It’s going to be super low key, we are very excited about it.”