LOS ANGELES — A dating site known as Christian Mingle has agreed to open its website for matching homosexuals following a class-action discrimination suit filed in federal court.
Being a Christian-identifying site, Christian Mingle currently only offers the options of a “man seeking a woman” or a “woman seeking a man.” But two homosexual men who went to the site found that it did not provide an option for those seeking a romantic relationship with the same sex.
They sued Spark Networks, Inc., the parent company of Christian Mingle, alleging a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which requires businesses to provide services regardless of one’s “sexual orientation.”
“All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever,” the law reads in part.
The case has been in the courts since 2013, but recently Spark Networks agreed to settle the matter and allow homosexual dating on its site.
According to the settlement, within two years, “Spark will ensure that the ‘man seeking woman’ and ‘woman seeking man’ options … only ask whether the user is a ‘man’ or ‘woman.'”
“Spark represents and warrant that it is updating the Mingle sites, and to the extent Spark continues to operate any of the Mingle sites in the future, such sites will be updated to create an experience which will allow individuals seeking same-sex partners to use Spark’s matching technologies to find and be matched with others seeking same-sex partners,” it reads.
In addition, Spark Networks agreed to pay the plaintiffs in the case $9,000 each, as well as $450,000 in legal fees to their attorneys. It did not admit any wrongdoing in the matter.
“I am gratified that we were able to work with Spark to help ensure that people can fully participate in all the diverse market places that make our country so special, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Vineet Dubey, an attorney for one of the men, said in a statement.
Spark said that it is “pleased to resolve this litigation.”
However, not all are elated with the development.
“ChristianMingle is based on Christian beliefs, and a good number of denominations consider homosexual acts to be sinful. It seems rather petty to force a company to change their beliefs rather than simply find (or … start) an alternative dating site,” writes Christine Rouselle for Town Hall.
In addition to Christian Mingle, the agreement also pertains to most of Spark’s other dating sites, including Catholic Mingle, LDS Singles, Silver Singles and Black Singles.