Over the past decade we have seen a rise in websites and phone apps that are dedicated to helping us find love and connect with those we’re “best matched” with, based on a number of personality questions and so-called compatibility formulas.
In more recent years, a number of e-dating websites have been created that cater to particular religious communities.
Today, we have J-Date, a website for Jewish people, Muslima, a site helping connect Muslims to future spouses, and Christian Mingle, a site for followers of Jesus to connect with fellow Christians, to name just a few.
But recently, one religious dating site has faced legal backlash for its apparent “discrimination” against the LGBT+ community.Spark Networks, the owner of the popular religious dating websites J-Date and Christian Mingle, were recently sued focusing on a California anti-discrimination law which requires “business establishments to offer full and equal accommodations to people regardless of their sexual orientation.” The lawsuit focused on website Christian Mingle, which did not have options for LGBT+ people to join the site, requiring that men match with women and vice versa.Spark Networks agreed to pay the legal fees and ,000 to each plaintiff and committed to adjust their services over the next two years to give “gays and lesbian singles a more tailored experience.” wrote, “Advocates for traditional marriage consider the Christian Mingle lawsuit settlement an infringement on religious liberty, grouping the decision with broader societal and legal pressure on those opposed to gay marriage.” Ben Shapiro of wrote, “In the latest sign that the judiciary has gone completely off the rails, a judge has now forced the owners of Christian Mingle.com, Spark, to include same-sex matches on their website.Two gay men decided that there simply weren’t enough gay dating websites on the internet, and sued Christian Mingle.com…” The concern that almost all conservative commentators have brought up in light of this ruling is that the religious liberties of conservative Christians who believe in so-called “traditional marriage” are under attack.This, they say, is just another sign of the radical agenda of the LGBT+ left that seeks to undermine Christianity in the United States as we know it.
However, when one examines this situation more closely, a much less dramatic and nuanced perspective emerges.
The lawsuit against Christian Mingle had little to do with gay men deciding that there “weren’t enough gay dating sites on the web.” It had little to do with the LGBT+ community seeking to shove our agendas down the throats of conservatives, as commentator Michael Brown suggested.
Instead, what if this situation is truly about what the plaintiffs said it was about: equality.
The United States constitution guarantees protections from discrimination as a fundamental right of every person living in the United States of America.
Furthermore, California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act clearly states that “business establishments” must have “full and equal accommodations” for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Enshrined in these same civil rights laws are protections for religious institutions from ever being forced into silence or to be prevented from practicing their faith openly.