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A Clockwork Passenger. An Embarrassment of Riches. Naming Rights. D ating site ChristianMingle must now admit gay users, after two gay men won a class-action claim against its owner, Spark Networks. But what have those men really gained for their trouble?


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Given its design, ChristianMingle has no feature for gay users to find other gay users — everyone is simply put in the same network and must figure out who is gay and who is straight. Nevertheless, while the suit has forced the site to provide minimally helpful service to the gay Christian crowd, gay Christian leaders continue to see little value in using ChristianMingle. In fact, this ruling does not seem to serve anyone: Not the heterosexual user base; not Spark Networks, which got sued into making unplanned changes; and not the LGBT community, which has no way of screening out all those heterosexual Christians gumming up their list of potential matches.

Amazingly, websites that were designed around a certain biblical idea of marriage do not adapt well to those with different romantic ideals. The presumption gay customers must be served wherever they go makes sense in the context of everyday economic transactions. But a dating site that is explicitly centered around religious commonality clearly cannot function properly if it is not legally allowed to put religious views into practice. In order for a dating website to function at all, it has to be able to set some parameters for relationships.

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One wonders, too, how far the demand for inclusivity should go. Now, ChristianMingle restricts users to either gay or straight relationships with a single individual — users can choose only whether they are listed as male or female, and identify which sex they are attracted to.

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But this restriction leaves the site open to the attack that it is refusing to cater to those with other gender identities and to those, such as the polyamorous, who do not believe in monogamous relationships. Are more lawsuits on the horizon? And the good news is that the market caters to virtually every dating niche. Gay Christian dating services exist, and secular dating apps such as Tinder serve the wider gay community as well as heterosexuals. There are dating services for those seeking polyamorous relationships , and those who report having gender that varies along a spectrum.

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You do not even have to be sure what your gender is to find a site tailored to your romantic needs. But we already have a diverse marketplace for online dating, and it was not created by filing class-action claims against Christian dating sites. If America is not to descend into endless tension, legislators will need to become more comfortable permitting people to associate and date as they see fit.

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The site that sparked the lawsuit, Christian Mingle, boasts 15 million registered members. Lee explained that while the website was preventing gay and bi Christians from finding love on Christian Mingle, users were turning to secular options like OKCupid that allow filtering by religion, or going on his organization's network. A California judge ruled the site's original format violated the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The company's first website, JDate. Skip to content.

LGBT Christians have won the right to find love on the website, as well as several other of Spark's pages.