Contributed by: kellyseal Tuesday, August 23 2016 @ 07:45 am
Gay men and women are now allowed to search and meet through dating site Christian Mingle, one of the largest niche dating sites in the industry. The site opened its platform to gay users after settling a lawsuit that claimed that it violated California’s non-discrimination law on the basis of sexual orientation.
According to the conditions of the settlement, Spark Networks who own Christian Mingle among other dating sites, will change their homepages to allow users to specify if they are a man or a woman, and also if they are looking for men or women. While Spark also agreed to create a more comprehensive and tailored matching service for users seeking same sex relationships within the next two years, the dating site Christian Mingle as it exists for gay singles can be frustrating.
There was backlash from the Christian community in the wake of the lawsuit, citing first amendment rights of Christians and their religious beliefs to prevent gay dating on a Christian dating site. And it seems Christian Mingle isn’t making it easier for gay people to use its site. While they allow users to view members of the same sex, it doesn’t specifically show them fellow gay users, which makes for a lot of confusion. So if you’re a gay man looking to meet other gay men, you will be searching through both straight and gay men’s profiles to find someone who is also gay, which can be a waste of time and drive gay users away from the service.
The Washington Post noted in an email from the company that Spark Networks said it has no plans to advertise the site to gay Christians, or to go further to make the site work for gay or bisexual users. “Like all other companies, we must abide by the laws that govern our state and nation,” the email said.
Christian Mingle has over 16 million members and is part of Sparks Networks, which owns a number of other niche dating sites, including JDate as well as sites for Catholics, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists. Texas pastor Clayton Coates, an outspoken member of Christian Singles’ board, was firmly against same sex dating on the site, and tendered his resignation when the site was ordered to include it.
There is a significant market for gay Christian dating, who right now aren’t being served by either Christian dating sites like Christian Mingle or by gay dating apps, which tend to focus on sex and hook-ups. Many gay Christians are looking for long-term relationships with other religious people, but have to use more secular sites like OkCupid or Match to find dates, which isn’t ideal.