Seattle Pacific College investigated for anti-LGBTQ hiring coverage

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“Seattle Pacific College admits that it refuses to rent homosexual school and employees,” Washington State Legal professional Basic Bob Ferguson mentioned in an announcement obtained Friday by CNN affiliate KIRO.

Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket Legislation, which helps spiritual liberty and is representing SPU, in an announcement accused the state legal professional common of “going after a 130-year-old Christian college and violating our nation’s long-standing precept of the separation of church and state.”

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“We’ll defend Seattle Pacific’s proper to function its college in accordance with its religion,” she added.

In Could, college students and employees on the non-public Christian college staged a sit-in and requested for the elimination of SPU’s board of trustees “after they voted to maintain in place college insurance policies that prohibit workers from partaking in ‘same-sex sexual exercise,'” Ferguson mentioned.

As college students walked throughout the stage throughout a graduation ceremony the next month, they handed the interim president rainbow pride flags in protest over the college’s hiring coverage.

Ferguson mentioned his workplace was contacted by quite a few school and college students to file complaints or categorical concern concerning the coverage.

In a letter to SPU on June 8, Ferguson notified the college his workplace was opening an inquiry concerning the “attainable discriminatory employment insurance policies and practices” and requested for extra data.
SPU countered with a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, saying the “legal professional common’s probe inquires into confidential spiritual issues and is past the scope of authority granted underneath state regulation and the federal structure.”

The lawsuit requested a federal decide to declare that the college’s religious-based hiring insurance policies are protected by the First Modification, and to halt the legal professional common’s investigation completely.

“The lawsuit demonstrates that the College believes it’s above the regulation to such a rare diploma that it’s shielded from answering primary questions from my workplace concerning the College’s compliance with state regulation,” Ferguson mentioned within the assertion.

In its US District Courtroom criticism, SPU mentioned it responded to Ferguson’s letter and sought clarification on the scope of the investigation, however that Ferguson’s workplace dismissed the college’s inquiries as “rhetorical questions.”

“SPU believes the legal professional common’s workplace has focused the college due to its Christian beliefs and is asking the federal courtroom to make sure it could possibly keep its spiritual id,” SPU mentioned in an announcement.

“Seattle Pacific College is in federal courtroom defending its proper to rent Christian school and employees after Washington state’s legal professional common demanded the college’s inside communications and personal worker data,” the college assertion mentioned.

The college lawsuit mentioned it “holds to conventional Christian beliefs concerning marriage and sexuality, in alignment with the Free Methodist Church,” and if SPU modified its employment insurance policies to permit Christians in same-sex marriages to be employed, the college could be “robotically disaffiliated from the Free Methodist Church.”

Ferguson’s assertion mentioned his workplace “respects the spiritual views of all Washingtonians and the constitutional rights afforded to non secular establishments.”

“As an individual of religion, I share that view,” he added. “My workplace didn’t prejudge whether or not Seattle Pacific College’s employment insurance policies or its actions are unlawful. We responded to the complaints from involved Washingtonians by sending the College a letter. The letter requested 4 questions. The letter additionally invited the College to supply any further data that it wished my workplace to contemplate.”

CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

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