Judge Rules Dating Site ChristianMingle Must Include Gay Singles

Photographed by Eva K Salvi.
Online-dating site ChristianMingle.com must now allow gay singles to, well, mingle, thanks to a class-action lawsuit settled in California courts this week, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Currently, ChristianMingle, which proudly bills itself as the largest online community for Christian singles, requires new users to identify themselves in only one of two ways when creating an account to search for potential paramours: either a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man. But that will soon be changing, thanks to two gay men who filed class action claims against ChristianMingle's parent company, Spark Networks, Inc. The suit, filed in 2013, alleged that the Christian dating platform, along with a handful of other sites in Spark Networks' portfolio, excluded users looking to meet singles of the same sex — and therefore, violated California’s anti-discrimination law.

According to terms approved by a California state judge, ChristianMingle and other Spark dating sites, including CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com, and BlackSingles.com, have two years in which to adjust their searching and profile features to give users the ability to search for same-sex matches. Popular online site JDate.com, which is also owned by Spark Networks, was not included in the lawsuit.

Spark will also be paying each plaintiff a small settlement of $9,000 each, as well as $450,000 in attorneys’ fees for the two men’s lawyers, though the company did not admit to any specific wrongdoing as part of the settlement agreement.

“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,” plaintiffs’ attorney Vineet Dubey, of Custodio & Dubey, LLP, said in a statement.
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