Sunday, July 03, 2016
Settlement Requires ChristianMingle To Include Same-Sex Date Searching
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, last week a California trial court entered a consent decree settling an Unruh Civil Rights Act class action that had been brought by two gay men against the dating sites ChristianMingle.com, CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com and BlackSingles.com. Plaintiffs charged that the sites did not allow users to meet singles of the same sex, thus violating state anti-discrimination laws that require business establishments to offer equal services regardless of sexual orientation. The judgment (full text) in Sparks Network Unruh Act Cases, (CA Super. Ct., June 27, 2016), requires that for the next two years the home pages of the sites must no longer provide the choices of "man seeking woman" and "woman seeking man," but instead only ask whether the user is a Man or Woman. Those seeking a same-sex match can then search using text searching and profile building tools. After that, the sites can be reconfigured so long as there is an option for those seeking a same-sex match to do so without indicating they are seeking someone of the opposite sex. The judgment also calls for future changes to create equal matching services. Finally the judgment calls for defendant to pay damages totaling $18,000 and attorneys fees of $450,000.