A Christian university is being sued over its policy prohibiting the hiring of LGBTQ teachers.
Students and educators filed a lawsuit Monday against Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington, alleging that the university violated its fiduciary duty and engaged in fraud by enacting a religious-based hiring policy which hinders educators in same-sex relationships from getting hired. The lawsuit targets the leaders of the board of trustees, calling them the “rogue board” and asking for their removal from their positions, as well as demanding a jury trial. (RELATED: ‘What Is Going On?’: LGBTQ Pride Month Editorial Dooms Student Newspaper)
The Free Methodist Church, which founded the school in 1891, threatened to remove its connection to the school if the policy was removed, the lawsuit alleged. Two members of the board of trustees for the university are leaders at the church.
“This hiring policy, loathed by the SPU community, prohibits the employment of otherwise qualified LGBTQ+ people at SPU if an LGBTQ+ applicant or employee is married to, or in relationship with, someone of the same sex,” the lawsuit stated. “These men brush aside the severe and widespread harm they continue to inflict on the most vulnerable students and employees of the university, namely, the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students and employees.”
A black educator, part of the LGBTQ community, resigned from the university allegedly citing the policy and “the system of whiteness” as his reason for leaving the school, the lawsuit stated.
In addition to asking for the board as well as the interim president, Pete Menjares, to resign, the lawsuit calls for the school to provide financial compensation for any who were “harmed by the LGBTQ policy.”
“Defendants chose this path in order to defend a discriminatory hiring policy that undermined, and has torn apart, the heart and soul of SPU,” the lawsuit stated.
On Sept. 1, the Indiana Supreme Court sided with Catholic schools under the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, after one institution fired a teacher after he entered a same-sex marriage. The teachers’ contract with the school, based on the institutions’ religious beliefs, prohibited him from doing so.
“Seattle Pacific University is aware of the lawsuit and will respond in due course,” the university told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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