Nearly three years after two gay men filed a class-action lawsuit against Spark Networks Inc. (which operates sites such as Christianmingle.com, CatholicMingle.com, BlackSingles.com, Etc.. ) has been ordered by a California judge to allow members who are looking for same-sex connections to be apart of their network of sites.
They argued that the company forced users to register as “man seeking woman” or “woman seeking man,” a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, an anti-discrimination law in California that requires businesses to provide “full and equal accommodations” regardless of sexual orientation.
Judge Jane L. Johnson of the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County, ordered the company to allow users to select “man seeking woman” or vice versa, and ordered Spark to pay each plaintiff $9,000 and $450,000 in attorneys’ fees.
“As long as Spark operates the Mingle Sites, users will continue to have the ability to search for potential same sex matches using the sites’ text searching and profile building functions,” summarizes the order.
Spark will have 24 months from the date of Monday’s order to bring all of its dating sites into compliance.
A representative from Spark Networks said he was “pleased to resolve this litigation.”
“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 of Custodio & Dubey LLP, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.