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Others argued the issue was more about the rights of businesses than LGBT inclusion.“Christian Mingle does not have a monopoly on the dating website market,” wrote Christine Russell for the conservative news outlet Townhall. I’m not taking a gay dating website to court, forcing them to allow a straight option.“Christian Mingle is based on Christian beliefs, and a good number of denominations consider homosexual acts to be sinful. But this ruling sets that precedent.” Christian Mingle has come under scrutiny before as studies revealed secular trends within Christian dating culture.
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The agreement came as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by two gay men who claimed the company’s focus on heterosexual relationships discriminated against them.
Conservatives denounced the decision as a strike against religious liberty and an unnecessary interference in private business.
“Early on in their quest to legalize homosexual marriage, advocates assured us that it would not infringe on the rights of others, especially people of faith,” Carrie Gordon Earll, vice president of public policy at Focus on the Family, said.
“From dating sites and adoption agencies to small businesses, it’s clear today that people of faith are being forced to compromise or risk financial ruin.” In 2013, two gay men filed a lawsuit against Christian Mingle because users can only search for potential partners of the opposite sex.
The men claimed the dating site violated California’s anti-discrimination laws by making it impossible for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to use the company’s services.
Known as the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the California law says: “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their …
sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind.” The men claimed the company “has engaged in a systematic and intentional pattern and practice of arbitrary discrimination against gays and lesbians throughout California by denying them full and equal services.” Now, instead of asking whether someone is a “woman seeking a man” or a “man seeking a woman,” the matchmaking service can only ask if users are male or female.
The lawsuit doesn’t just impact Christian Mingle, but other-faith based matchmaking websites run by Spark Networks, including LDSSingles, for Mormons, and Catholic Mingle.
“Like all other companies, we must abide by the laws that govern our state and nation,” said Spark CEO Michael Egan.