By Kaitlyn Conway
The past election year has been, to say the very least, remarkably unique from the ones before it. The winning candidate and current President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, had managed to completely erode the traditional stoic image of the traditional Republican nominee by taking risky and dangerous, nevertheless rewarding, choices during his campaign run. What erupted was a cult of personality perhaps never before seen in American politics, one that was extremely, and inarguably, divisive, despite Trump’s own desires to unite the nation upon his inauguration. For those who supported him, it seemed like it was more than the average voter support for the Republican candidacy; it was a devoted affection for all things Trump, from his off-the-cuff remarks about his opponents, to ardently supporting his brand by purchasing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and other Trump merchandise, and gathering at rallies whenever the man himself appeared. Trump’s presidency has left people bitterly divided in ways never before seen. There is one thing that can be said for Trump: you either love him or you hate him. And if you love him, nothing could be better than being in the company of those who share not only a mutual devotion towards this larger-than-life icon, but also an idealized view of American life.
In what seems like the blink of a proverbial eye, technology has suddenly never been more user-friendly than it is now, and this is nowhere more evident than in the use of social media and dating apps, such as OKCupid, eHarmony, Match.com, and Tinder. Now, supporters of Trump have thrown their hat into the dating-website ring with a website called TrumpSingles.com, a dating website which offers “a place where you can find single, like-minded people!” The website was created by David Goss, a California businessman and Trump supporter, who founded the site because he had heard accounts from his Trump supporter friends whose dates had soured after they revealed their political affiliation. “People are very set in their ways at this point,” Goss commented. “This is like a civil war. It’s very sad to see.” The layout of TrumpSingles.com itself sets itself apart from run-of-the-mill dating websites: when you open the page, you are immediately hit with an image that seems to evoke the very essence of the Trump brand, with the both site’s logo and the ‘join now’ button in a shining gold typeset, set against a striking black and white photo of an attractive couple in an elegant setting (in the stock photo the website designer has chosen for the website, the woman in the photo appears to be wearing either an engagement or wedding ring). Underneath the photo is an ‘as seen as’ endorsement, posting the various media outlets that have reported on TrumpSingles.com. The average cost to join is $19.95 a month (an increase from $15 a month since the election).
Despite the attractive appearance and widespread popularity amongst Trump supporters of the website, there have been accounts of many of the profiles on TrumpSingles.com being fake accounts. One report noted that one of the fake profiles used a profile picture of porn star Natalie Sparks; another profile used the image of popular vlogger Aline Faria. Other images seem to be gleaned from stock photo databases such as Shutterstock. As it stands now, there appears to be no real criminal liability for dating websites hosting fraudulent profiles, even if dangerous real life activity occurs because of the fake profile, because of case precedent. In 2003, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Matchmaker.com (a dating website which was sued because someone had created a fake profile using the name, photo, and personal information of an actress without her consent) was immune from liability because of §230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Specifically, because such websites are designated as “interactive computer services”, and the damaging material was posted by a user of the website, and not the host of the website, the owners of the website could and would not be held liable.
This is not the first time a dating website has been based on a premise other than simply matchmaking: Goss was reportedly inspired to create the website after overhearing a conversation about BernieSingles.com, a website dedicated to particularly liberal democrats who want romantic relationships. Other websites have cropped up in the wake of some Trump opponents who wish to take the drastic step of leaving the United States, one in particular being MapleMatch.com, in which Americans can meet Canadians for the purposes of creating long-term relationships, and perhaps going abroad. When one signs up for a membership on MapleMatch.com, one has the option of selecting not only which country they currently reside in, but also which country they wish to reside in.
This premise seems to be optimistically based on the false premise that marriage to a Canadian citizen automatically results in citizenship. According to the Government of Canada website, it explicitly states: “No. Marriage to a Canadian citizen does not give you citizenship,” and also adds that anyone who wishes to attain Canadian citizenship “must follow the same steps as everyone else,” and “There is not a special process for the spouses of Canadian citizens to become citizens.” The determining factors for Canadian citizenship are not entirely dissimilar to attaining US Citizenship under Section 319(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. For example, in Canada, even if you are the spouse of a Canadian, you must be at least 18 years old, must have permanent resident status (not unlike an American ‘green card’), intent to reside in Canada, proficiency in either English or French, and a rudimentary knowledge of Canadian history, values, institutions and symbols.
The hard truth is that there is no perfect utopia, and even if it existed, I guarantee you it certainly would not be found on the corner of any dating website. Dating is about taking risks, which may include getting your feelings hurt, being confronted on your deeply-held beliefs, and even if you meet that amazing someone, the possibility that both of you may live in a world that you both find yourselves wishing to make up from. Love is about going through that struggle together, whether it may be externally or internally. There’s no real joy in trying to create a relationship with someone with a ready-made opinion. The thrill is in the chase.
Bio: Kaitlyn is a 3L at Suffolk Law School. She currently serves at the Web Administrator for the Journal of High Technology Law, and also works as a 3:03 Student Attorney for the Indigenous People’s Rights Clinic at Suffolk.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are the views of the author alone and do not represent the views of JHTL or Suffolk University Law School.