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The popular online Christian dating website, Christian Mingle.com, must now allow gay and lesbian users to search for same-sex matches following a discrimination lawsuit filed by two gay men, the Wall Street Journal reported.The California judge who approved a settlement of discrimination claims has also ordered Spark Networks Inc., which owns Christian Mingle along with several other dating websites, to pay the two plaintiffs 8,000.

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Spark will not change the gateway/home pages to use the ‘man seeking woman’ and ‘woman seeking man’ prompts in the future unless Spark also provide similar prompts which allow individuals seeking a same sex match to enter and use the sites without having to state that they are seeking a match with someone of the opposite sex.

As long as Spark operates the Mingle Sites, users will continue to have the ability to search for potential same sex matches using the site’s text searching and profile building functions.

Based in Los Angeles, Christian is “the largest and most trusted Christian dating site,” and has more than 15 million registered members, according to the website.

“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,” the plaintiff’s attorney Vineet Dubey said in a statement.

One in ten Americans have used an online dating site or mobile dating app themselves, and many people now know someone else who uses online dating or who has found a spouse or long-term partner via online dating.

General public attitudes towards online dating have become much more positive in recent years, and social networking sites are now playing a prominent role when it comes to navigating and documenting romantic relationships.These are among the key findings of a national survey of dating and relationships in the digital era, the first dedicated study of this subject by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project since 2005.According to the Journal, the new agreement requires that the search options listed on the home page ask the user to simply identify as a “man” or a “woman,” instead of a “man seeking woman” and “woman seeking man.” The settlement also applies to Catholic Mingle.com, Adventist Singles and Black It does not, however, apply to the Spark-owned online Jewish matchmaking service, JDate.com, which was not included in the suit.Spark Networks will also be required to adjust searching and profile features in these websites to include options for gay and lesbian singles within the next two years.The company must pay ,000 each to the two plaintiffs and reimburse them for 0,000 in legal fees.

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