Following class-action claims by two men, dating site ChristianMingle.com has agreed to let gay people search for same-sex partners under a judge-approved settlement.
Two claims were made in 2013 alleging that the site and several others in parent company Spark Networks Inc.’s portfolio excluded users looking to meet singles of the same sex. The lead plaintiffs argued that the limited options provided by the site – new users were asked to specify whether they were a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man – violated California’s anti-discrimination law. That law requires “business establishments” to offer “full and equal accommodations” to people regardless of their sexual orientation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, under the agreement Spark Networks websites now ask new users only if they are male or female. The company has also agreed to adjust other searching and profile features within two years. The terms also apply to other Spark Networks properties including CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com and BlackSingles.com.
Spark has also agreed to pay each plaintiff $9,000 each and $450,000 in attorneys’ fees to the two men’s lawyers.
One of the plaintiff’s attorneys said:
“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.”
A Spark Networks rep said the company was “pleased to resolve this litigation.”