A popular dating site has agreed to set up a separate site for gay and lesbians after setting a lawsuit out of court.

eHarmony has been heavily criticised over its heterosexuals-only policy.

The site’s founder added insult to injury by declaring that eHarmony is about marriage, its ‘matching’ technology was derived from studying straight married couples and as gay marriage is ‘illegal’ he is not interested in gay business.

The New Jersery’s attorney general backed Eric McKinley, who initiated a lawsuit in 2005 under the state’s Law Against Discrimination.

eHarmony will set up Compatible Partners, a sister website for gay and lesbians, by March 2009. The company paid $5,000 to Mr McKinley and $50,000 to the attorney general’s office to cover costs but did not admit it had broken the law.

“Although we believed that the complaint resulted from an unfair characterisation of our business, we ultimately decided it was best to settle with the attorney general since litigation outcomes can be unpredictable,” eHarmony said in a statement.

The company claims to use scientific methods to ensure you are matched with a compatible partner.

It is widely advertised on Christian websites.

“eHarmony (www.eharmony.com) launched in 2000 and is now the Internet’s No. 1 trusted relationship services provider,” according to the site.

“eHarmony’s patented Compatibility Matching System® allows eHarmony members to be matched with compatible persons with whom they are likely to enjoy a long-term relationship.

“Millions of people of all ages, ethnicities, national origins and religious and political beliefs have used eHarmony’s Compatibility Matching System to find compatible long-term relationships.

“Today, an average of 236 eHarmony members marry every day in the United States as a result of being matched on the site. eHarmony is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.”