I'm in the process of launching a matchmaking service that aims to serve a particular ethnic group. I'm wondering if this in any way might constitute discrimination. I know there are countless dating sites that are for a particular race/religion, but are they allowed to exclude someone who doesn't fit their targeted race/religion ?
If say on my site "We'll help you find a suitable (insert ethnicity here) partner?". Is this ok ?
I'm talking about Canada and US to be specific.
You have a very strong precedent: eHarmony was sued for not allowing gay people on site and segregating the gay and straight dating sites. Your suggestion is basically the same, so based on the eHarmony precedent it looks like you will lose a discrimination case in the US. Although it may be that no-one will sue you, and then no-one cares what you do, the government won't come after you on its own (i.e.: this is probably not going to be enforced without a complaint and a civil action against you).
Worth noting that the eHarmony suites were settled, i.e.: there was no court decision whether the company did or didn't do something wrong.
Note that I'm not a lawyer, and this is in no way a legal advice. You should have a (good!!!) lawyer go over all of the legal issues with you and address each and every one of them.
Note that in the US there are also state laws, and what may be allowed in one state may not be allowed in another. So you might be required to provide different services based on the registration of your users, or where your company is organized. Again - talk to a lawyer.
Theres no way for that to be legal in ANY western country, seriously you are willing to perform the simplest form of race discrimination. Not letting black/white people in your bar/or site (doesn't matter) is the very thing that is disallowed by anti-discrimination laws. You have no way of getting away with it. The competitors will be looking for legal way of shutting down your business, and nothing is simpler than this.
However there's no need to disallow anyone, you can just market your site to a specific race(as mentioned before), and make sure others will feel unconfortable on your site. Chose a domain name, that already specifies who is welcome ie.: blackandlonely.com (theres already a such site, and the front page features two black people having great time, most white/asian will get the idea, that this site is not for them, and thats completely legal)
im not your lawyer, blah blah
and also, require uploading picture, to earn some privileges.
I would just look at what sites such as ChristianMingle, Jdate, ethnic dating sites, etc. do and do the same. If they allow non-Christians, non-Jews, non-this or that, then you probably should as well.