Metro Weekly

ChristianMingle to allow users to search for same-sex matches

Lawsuit brought by two gay men claimed company was violating California civil rights law

Photo: darklama, via Wikimedia.
Photo: darklama, via Wikimedia., an online dating service for Christian singles, has promised to offer same-sex search options after settling a lawsuit by two gay men from California.

The men alleged that Spark Networks, the parent company of ChristianMingle, violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which requires businesses to provide “full and equal accommodations” to all people regardless of sexual orientation, reports The Huffington Post.

Under ChristianMingle’s soon-to-be-changed policy, users had to identify themselves as “men seeking women” or “women seeking men,” with no options for same-sex searches. As part of the settlement, Spark Networks agreed to allow users to identify simply by their gender when signing up for the site, allow easier searches for same-sex matches, and pay $468,000 in legal fees incurred by the two plaintiffs in the case.

The terms of the settlement will also apply to three other Spark sites: CatholicMingle, AdventistSinglesConnection, and BlackSingles, but not to its Jewish-oriented site, JDate, which already has options for LGBT users. Representatives for Spark said they were “pleased to resolve the litigation,” according to Christian News.

“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,” Vince Dubey, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

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