MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – A social networking site claims Minnesota has no right to regulate it as a dating service, because it is an “event organizer” and “does not ‘match’ members of the opposite sex.” Events and Adventures also claims Minnesota’s Club Contracts Act is unconstitutional, as it regulates heterosexual “matching” services but not those that match up same-sex couples – though Events says it does neither.
In its federal complaint, Events and Adventures says Attorney General Lori Swanson has demanded that it acquire a surety bond on its prepaid memberships “to cover liabilities to members in the event of the club’s closing.”
The Washington-based company claims that it “faces a costly financial burden should it be required to secure a bond,” and that it has already suffered losses since the state prohibited it from accepting new prepaid memberships until it gets coverage.
Events and Adventures claims that under the Club Contracts Act, which regulates health, buying and social referral clubs, Minnesota unfairly regulates “social referral clubs” that “match” members of the opposite sex, but not those that offer same-sex dating services.
It claims that the “statute’s classification based upon sexual orientation … [or] advertised activity of the club bears no rational relationship to any state interest.”
Events and Adventures claims the activities it plans are not dates, and that it does encourage its members to exchange contact information.
It says its “events are general interest activities which require a group of participants,” such as “whitewater rafting, theater, biking trips, sailing, archery volleyball, rock climbing, bowling, scuba diving, canoe trips, hiking and softball.”
Some of its events are attended by members of only one sex.
Events and Adventures likens itself to a recreational sports league, many of which have male and female participants, but are not considered dating services.
It seeks declaration that the Club Contracts Act is unconstitutional, and that Events and Adventures should not be considered a match-making service.
Its lead counsel is Emily Grande with Stoel Rives.