Seattle Pacific University, a private Christian liberal arts university in the US state of Washington, is facing an investigation over an alleged prohibition of hiring members of the LGBT community.
The school mandates that employees are not to engage in same-sex sexual activity, extramarital sex, and cohabitating before marriage.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his office is investigating the alleged discrimination.
The university filed a complaint on July 27 against the attorney general. The University stated that they “hold to traditional Christian beliefs regarding marriage and sexuality, in alignment with the Free Methodist Church.”
Followers under the Free Methodist Church act according to the doctrine of sanctification. This is a post-conversion process wherein spiritual and moral growth happens through prayers, Bible study, established rapport with fellow believers, and lastly, keeping with the simplicity of worship and lifestyle.
The church believes that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that marriage is a union for one man and one woman.
“The U.S. Constitution recognizes and protects the right of Seattle Pacific University to decide matters of faith and doctrine, to hire employees who share its religious beliefs, and to select and retain ministers free from government interference,” the complaint further reads.
Ferguson, on his part, said that several university students and faculty members reached out to his office to report their “deep concern” that the university embodies policies that illegally violate its employees' civil rights.
Happy pride month! Help SPU students pursue legal action against our board of trustees. By enforcing these homophobic policies (despite overwhelming opposition from the campus), the board is jeopardizing the future of our university. RT and share! https://t.co/s55H6UKifW
— engaygetheculture (@SPUisGay) June 7, 2022
“My office protects the civil rights of Washingtonians who have historically faced harmful discrimination. That’s our job — we uphold Washington’s law prohibiting discrimination, including based on sexual orientation,” Fergurson stated.
Some students of Seattle Pacific University have already set plans to file legal action against the university’s board of trustees for its “homophobic” and “discriminatory” employee lifestyle expectations.
Tracy Norlen, the spokesperson of the Seattle Pacific University, said that the university has no plans to change its established lifestyle for its employees, despite protests.
Students continued their protest when around 50 graduating students of the university handed the school’s president pride flags instead of shaking his hands during a graduation ceremony on June 13.
"Just because we're graduating doesn't mean we're going to forget or stop fighting,” said student Chloe Guillot.
SPU president Pete Menjares said that he respected the views of those who handed him those pride flags and that the day remains a wonderful day to celebrate with the graduates.