ChristianMingle.com, an online dating service for Christian singles, must start allowing people to seek out same-sex relationships under a judge-approved settlement.
ChristianMingle only required new users to specify whether they’re a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man. Two gay men filed class-actions claims against the site’s owner, California-based Spark Networks Inc., claiming that the site’s limited options violated California’s anti-discrimination law, The Wall Street Journal reported.
State law requires businesses to offer “full and equal” accommodations and services to people regardless of their sexual orientation.
For now, ChristianMingle will only ask a user whether he or she is a man or woman. Spark Networks agreed that within two years, it would adjust other features to give gay singles a more tailored experience, the Journal reported.
The terms approved by a state judge Monday also applied to other Spark-owned sites that had operated in the same fashion, including CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com and BlackSingles.com, the Journal reported.
Spark agreed to pay both men $9,000 each and $450,000 in attorneys’ fees. The company didn’t admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement, the Journal reported.
“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,” one of the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys, Vineet Dubey of Custodio & Dubey LLP, said in a statement.
A Spark representative said the company was “pleased to resolve this litigation.”
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