AG: Federal judge rejects SPU lawsuit to block anti-LGBTQ investigation

A federal judge rejected Seattle Pacific University’s lawsuit to stop an investigation into complaints of LGBTQ discrimination.

Students at the university organized a sit-in over what they describe as an anti-LGBTQ policy, prohibiting the school from hiring gay staff members. Staff and students complained to the Attorney General’s Office, concerned the policy violated civil rights.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent the university a letter inquiring about the school’s policies, and in response, SPU filed a lawsuit blocking an investigation.

On Wednesday, AG Ferguson announced a federal judge dismissed that lawsuit, allowing the inquiry to continue.

"My office respects the religious views of all Washingtonians and the constitutional rights afforded to religious institutions," said Ferguson. "As a person of faith, I share that view. Seattle Pacific University, however, is not above the law. Instead of answering questions about its hiring process, the university filed a federal lawsuit arguing that it is above the law to such an extraordinary degree that my office cannot even send it a letter asking for information about its employment policies. Today, a federal judge appropriately rejected that extreme position. It is our responsibility to uphold Washingtonians’ civil rights, and we plan to do that job."

RELATED: SPU students file lawsuit against Board of Trustees over anti-LGBTQ hiring policy

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A student coalition filed a lawsuit against SPU’s Board of Trustees in September.

Anyone who believes they were subject to employment discrimination by SPU is urged to contact the AGO’s Civil Rights Division at