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Christian dating site must include gays, judge rules

The Christian dating site ChristianMingle.com should include gays and lesbians among its users, according to a judge's ruling.

Spark Networks, the owner of the website, will be rolling out new features within two years that will accommodate gay singles who want to use the dating site.

(Pixabay)

In 2013, two gay men filed a lawsuit against Spark for allegedly discriminating against users who were searching for matches from the same sex, as the online dating platform only included searches for "man seeking woman" and "woman seeking man."

The lawsuit claimed that the limited options were a violation of California's anti-discrimination law called the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which requires businesses to give "full and equal accommodations" to clients regardless of their sexual orientation.

Spark has agreed to change the website's options to ask whether a user is a "man" or a "woman" so the user can search for matches within the same sex "without having to state that they are seeking a match with someone of the opposite sex."

The agreement stipulates that the same changes be adapted in other dating websites owned by Spark, including CatholicMingle.com, BlackSingles.com and AdventistSinglesConnection.com. ChristianMingle.com is considered as the largest online dating platform for Christian singles.

However, the agreement does not include the Jewish dating site JDate.com, which is also owned by Spark.

Spark was also ordered to pay $9,000 each to the two men and a total of $450,000 for attorneys' fees. Although Spark complied with the terms of the agreement, it did not acknowledge any wrongdoing on its part.

"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, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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