SEATTLE, WA — (08-04-22) — We can now confirm that Washington State attorney general Bob Ferguson is investigation a Christian University’s anti-LGBTQ employment policy. Attorney General Ferguson opened the investigation of the private Christian university after months of outrage on campus over the school’s anti-LGBTQ hiring policy.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office confirmed to JRL CHARTS LGBT Politics News that his office had sent a letter to Seattle Pacific University in early June seeking information on its alleged discrimination against LGBTQ staff members through its “employee lifestyle expectations” policy.
The anti-LGBT policy requires staffers to refrain from “cohabitation, extramarital sexual activity and same-sex sexual activity,” and for those who violate the school’s policy will face disciplinary action including, the possibility of employment termination.
The June letter did not accuse the private Christian university of violating Washington State’s anti-discrimination laws, but did say that state prosecutors had “learned of information” that suggested the university was indeed violating state law by discriminating against faculty and staff on the basis of sexual orientation.
The letter asked the university’s general counsel to produce answers to four written questions about the institution’s hiring policy, as well as complaints going back to 2017.
In response to the June letter, Seattle Pacific filed a federal lawsuit in district court last week, claiming that based on protections of religion and speech it should not have to comply with the state’s request. In other words, it should have the right to discriminate against LGBT Americans and ignore state law.
In Friday’s statement, Ferguson called the lawsuit a demonstration that Seattle Pacific University believes it is “above the law.”
The outrageous lawsuit in my opinion, alleges the university’s mission of Christian education is “under fire” from attorney general Ferguson and that the investigation seeks information that the university claims to be “confidential religious matters”, and should not be available for the attorney general’s purview.
In the suit, the university confirms it holds “traditional Christian beliefs” about marriage and sexuality. The Free Methodist Church, with which the school is affiliated, believes sexual intimacy should be between a man and a woman but is “committed to the dignity and worth of all humans,” including the LGBTQ community, the suit says.
Lori Windham, senior counsel at religious liberty nonprofit Becket Law, which is representing the Seattle Pacific University, said Ferguson “singled out” Seattle Pacific because of its Christian beliefs.
As a gay Jewish American reporter, I never thought that I would see a school file a lawsuit to have the right to discriminate against fellow Americans in the 21st Century. The war on the LGBTQ community by the religious right is getting worse by the day. One has to wonder when will it end.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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