Washington state probes Christian university's anti-LGBTQ employment policy
A private Christian university in Seattle is being investigated by the state of Washington over an anti-LGBTQ hiring policy that has prompted months of campus
A private Christian university in Seattle is being investigated by the state of Washington over an anti-LGBTQ hiring policy that has prompted months of campus turmoil.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement Friday confirming his office sent a letter to Seattle Pacific University in early June seeking information regarding its alleged discrimination against LGBTQ staff members through its “employee lifestyle expectations” policy. The policy requires staffers to refrain from “cohabitation, extramarital sexual activity and same-sex sexual activity," and those who violate it face disciplinary action, including the possibility of employment termination.
The June letter did not outwardly accuse the university of violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws, but it said state prosecutors had “learned of information” that suggested the university was 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, saying that based on protections of religion and speech it should not have to comply with the state’s request. The suit alleges the university’s mission of Christian education is “under fire” from Ferguson and that the probe asks about “confidential religious matters” that are beyond the attorney general’s purview.