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.
Exceptions include Daily Bible Verse.com, and Christian Cards.net, which cater to other Christian interests, and Spark.com, a general-interest online personals site.
Today, Christian Mingle and JDate are Spark Networks' most popular dating sites.
Initially launched in 2001, Christian is the largest and fastest growing online community of Christian singles.
Currently, Christian Mingle, 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 Christian Mingle'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, Christian Mingle and other Spark dating sites, including Catholic Mingle.com, Adventist Singles Connection.com, and Black Singles.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 ,000 each, as well as 0,000 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.
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.