So you’re a marriage-minded dude in Houston looking for a suitable mate online. But you don’t want to limit your search to just your neighborhood, or just the metro area, or just the state…or, uh, just the country.
No, you want your search to include sites that can connect you to promising young women from exciting places like Latvia (is that still a country?) and Singapore. So you browse around and, bam, you find someone you’re interested in! You click on her ad, expecting to send her a message, or maybe get her contact info when…The Man steps in.
The Man is in the form of an obscure 2005 law called the Inernational Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), which mandates that third-party online “marriage brokers” get a dude’s criminal background before providing the woman’s contact info. It also adds some changes to certain visa applications. (Read more here.)
The idea was pushed by the Virginia-based Tahirih Justice Center, which is scheduled to open its first field office, in Houston, office in 2009.
This move prompted an alert to the Houston Press by Tristan Laurent at www.onlinedatingrights.com, a forum for those who believe is an inherent violation of civil rights.
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Laurent’s site describes Tahirih as a “knee-jerk feminist” group that has used questionable studies about human trafficking and abuse of female immigrants to dupe lawmakers into passing legislation that essentially pisses on the Constitution.
Laurent tells Hair Balls he married a woman he met through one of these sites – his work as a lawyer requries a lot of travel abroad, he said, and he didn’t want to limit his search. Laurent’s online forum is just one of many that are rallying the troops to take on what they feel is a law that paints all dudes trollin’ for foreign chicks as creepy, abusive sexual psychopaths. And if you want to protect all women, they ask, why are companies like Match.com excluded? Why pick on sites like www.loveme.com?
You better believe we’re going to monitor this situation and will get back to you with frequent updates. In the meantime, we need to see about e-mailing Olga -- we’ve got a good feeling about her!
-- Craig Malisow