A judge ruled that Christian Mingle has to alter its settings to accommodate users who are searching for same-sex partners.
Two gay men filed class action lawsuits in 2013 against Spark Networks (LOV), the owner of the dating website, after attempting to use Christian Mingle and discovering that they could only match with people of the opposite sex. The Wall Street Journal reports that a judge ruled that practice to be in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which states that “business establishments” have to have “full and equal accommodations” for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation.
This ruling also applies to the other dating sites owned by Spark Networks, including Adventist Singles Connection and Black Singles. Under the settlement, the dating website now asks only for a user’s gender, and Spark Networks agreed to add more specific searching features over the next two years for LGBT singles using the site. Additionally, the company is paying both plaintiffs $9,000, with an extra $450,000 to go towards their attorneys’ fees.
“I am gratified that we were able to work with Spark Networks to help ensure that people can fully participate in all the diverse market places the make our country so special, regardless of their sexual orientation,” one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys told the Journal.
Spark Networks could not immediately be reached for comment.