In 1954 the city of Santa Monica, California, banned any “personal introductory service, marriage bureau, lonely hearts club, or other business of a like nature.” In October the Santa Monica City Council repealed that ordinance.
The Santa Monica Daily Press reports that the ban was lifted because the match-up industry is “no longer seen as sleazy.” A city-commissioned report supporting the change found that “with the advent of computer technology, personal introduction and dating services have expanded and become a common and reputable way to meet others for social interaction.”
While that is undeniably true, the real inspiration for lifting the ban was a bit more concrete. Many months before the repeal, the city began negotiations with the online dating behemoth eHarmony to move its headquarters to Santa Monica. About 275 employees will work in the new offices and in the company’s famed research lab for the study of successful relationships. When the archaic law was discovered on the books, city officials acted swiftly to remove it.