Christian Mingle Will Allow Same-Sex Matches Following A Discrimination Lawsuit
While we were all busy celebrating the repeal of the ban on transgender troops in the military Thursday, it would appear we missed another big victory for the LGBTQ community against discrimination. On the same day, The Wall Street Journal reported that due to a “judge-approved settlement of discrimination claims,” dating site Christian Mingle will now include same-sex matches. The dating site formerly asked potential users if they were a “man seeking a woman” or a “woman seeking a man,” but following the conditions required by the settlement reached last week, it will now simply ask for users’ gender.
Christian Mingle and other dating sites operating under Spark Networks Inc., including CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com, and BlackSingles.com, will now “introduce features … making it easier for gay and lesbian users to find others on the site,” according to Mic.
The lawsuit was taken to court in 2013 by two gay men who filed class-actions claims against Spark Networks, asserting that its failure to provide same-sex matches broke a California anti-discrimination law known as the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which requires “business establishments” to provide “full and equal accommodations” to all patrons regardless of sexual orientation.
The Christian right has a reputation for hostility toward the LGBTQ community, rooted in interpretations of the Bible which forbid gay marriage and identify homosexuality as a sin. Frankly, the embittered responses to the discrimination lawsuit’s results by some right-wing news outlet, identifying it as “an attack on liberty,” only reinforce this reputation, but that’s not to say gay or lesbian Christians in search of other gay or lesbian Christians don’t exist and don’t deserve to find their match just as much as their heterosexual counterparts.
For its own part, while Sparks Network did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement, Christian Mingle has accepted the court’s ruling with grace, noting in a Friday Facebook post, “Trials are never fun, but it’s helpful to know that God is working through them.”
Spark Networks agreed to pay each plaintiff $9,000, and $450,000 to the two men’s lawyers.
“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,” Vineet Dubey, the lawyer of the two plaintiffs, told The Wall Street Journal.
Christianity might take a lot of deserved heat for homophobia and sexual intolerance in general, but I’d like to think any god worth worshiping is one who wants everyone to find love real, meaningful love, regardless of which gender they’re attracted to and, in that vein, one who views this settlement handed down by the courts as a victory.