A popular US dating website, Christian Mingle, meant for only straight people, has now been ordered by a judge to accept Gay and lesbian singles to their website database. This was due to a class-action suit filed in 2013 by two gay men against Sparks Networks Inc., the owner of Christian Mingle & several other dating sites. The suit alleged that Christian Mingle violated California's anti-discrimination law.
Two gay men filed class-actions claimed that the website excluded users looking to meet singles of the same sex. ChristianMingle, which is the largest online community for Christian singles in the US, required new users to specify whether they’re a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man.
The lead plaintiffs, two gay men who tried using it, claimed that the limited options violated California’s anti-discrimination law. Known as the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the state law requires “business establishments” to offer “full and equal accommodations” to people regardless of their sexual orientation.
The online dating site will now allow gay and lesbian users to look for same-sex matches after the settlement of discrimination claims approved by a California judge, who has also asked the company to pay $468,000 to the two gay men who brought the lawsuit against it.
The settlement applies also to CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com and BlackSingles.com, but not to the online Jewish matchmaker JDate.com, which was not part of the lawsuit.
Spark Networks will have to adjust searching and profile features in these websites to include gay and lesbian singles within two years, as well as pay $9,000 each to the two plaintiffs and reimburse them for attorney's fees with $450,000.
"Spark will not change the gateway/home pages to use the 'man seeking woman' and 'woman seeking man' prompts in the future unless Spark also provide similar prompts which allow individuals seeking a same sex match to enter and use the sites without having to state that they are seeking a match with someone of the opposite sex. As long as Spark operates the Mingle Sites, users will continue to have the ability to search for potential same sex matches using the site's text searching and profile building functions," the settlement reads.
Under the agreement, the gateway homepages now ask just whether a user is a “man” or a “woman.” Spark Networks agreed that within two years, it would adjust other searching and profile features to give gay and lesbian singles a more tailored experience.
Source: The Christian Post/ MSN