Awkward: Mormon Dating Site Lands in Legal Scrap With Mormon Church

There's a dating website for practically every interest, lifestyle and faith community out there. Someone's even trying to get Mormon Match, a site for LDS singles, off the ground. But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apparently doesn't approve and says the name infringes on its trademarks.

Seems they don't want anyone making bank off the term "Mormon."

Ars Technica reports (via the Daily Dot) that Jonathan Eller, the man behind Mormon Match, attempted to trademark the name of the new website. That's when the Mormon church's business arm, "Intellectual Reserve Inc.," stepped in. See, they own the trademarks on a whole heap of LDS words, like "Mormon," "Mormon.org," "Book of Mormon" and others.

"We believe we are well within our rights to protect both the use of the name of the church and the image of the Salt Lake temple and to make clear that the plaintiff's business has no connection whatsoever to the church," one of the church's attorneys told the Houston Chronicle.

What makes this legal tiff especially awkward is that Eller and his cofounder are actually Mormon, and he claims it was their own dating troubles that drove them to build the site:

I want you to know that this site is being built by actual LDS singles. Like you, we're a little worried about the lack of local options in our ward, we've already tried the other "LDS" dating sites (not built or maintained by LDS peeps) with only battle scars and creepo stories to show for it, and we aren't getting any younger!

And now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a non-profit that fights for digital rights) has gotten involved, ratcheting the rhetoric up a level. They've filed an amicus brief arguing the site's name is fair use: "IRI cannot restrict Eller from using the word "Mormon" to describe his Mormon matching service as 'Mormon Match,' any more than Burger King® could prevent In-n-Out Burger® from including the term 'burger' in its name."

They've asked for a ruling in Eller's favor, to "help deter future trademark 'bullies' from abusing the legal process."

The next church barbecue is going to be really uncomfortable.

Photo via AP Images.