The State of California has ruled against the Christian dating website, ChristainMingle.com in a discrimination settlement, now forcing the website to allow gay and lesbian users to search for same-sex matches.
The discrimination lawsuit was filed in 2013 by two homosexual males, Aaron Werner and Richard Wright, who now will be getting $460,000 from the settlement. The plaintiffs cited that according the Unruh Civil Rights Act, California “business establishments” must offer “full and equal accommodations” regardless of their sexual orientation, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Since the state did not rule in the business’ favor, the website owned by Spark Network will have to include search options on the home page where a user can identify as either a “man” or a “woman” and then they will be able to select the sex that are interested in dating.
“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,” said Vineet Dubey, the plaintiff’s attorney in the case.
ChristainMingle.com has over 15 million registered members and it isn’t the only dating site to be required to implement same-sex search options, AdventistSinglesConnection.com and BlackSingles.com are also included in the settlement.
The LA-based Spark Network which owns ChristainMingle.com also owns the Jewish matchmaking service, JDate. This site was not included in the settlement, but the company will be forced to offer options for homosexual males and females within the next two years. JDate will also have to pay $9,000 to the two plaintiffs and reimburse them for $450,000 in legal fees.
“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,” according to the settlement.
Author’s note: This is another example of the state dictating what a business can and cannot do. What’s next? A discrimination suit from transgender individuals against dating sites for not including the term “transgender” as a way to identify themselves? Again, here the court has been used to intervene in a LGBT rights issue.