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SPU board members search dismissal of lawsuit over LGBTQ exclusion

(RNS) — Members of Seattle Pacific College’s board of trustees are asking a Washington state courtroom to dismiss a lawsuit introduced in opposition to the physique by a gaggle of scholars and college on the college, arguing that the swimsuit is an effort to “intimidate and punish leaders of a non secular establishment for the train of protected First Modification rights.”

Seattle Pacific is a 130-year-old non-public Christian college related to the Free Methodist Church, which teaches that “gay habits can’t be seen as a part of God’s meant function for human sexual expression, no matter an individual’s attraction, and which doesn’t settle for marriage between individuals of the identical intercourse.”

The school and college students sued the board in September in Washington’s superior courtroom for persevering with to uphold a coverage that bars individuals in same-sex relationships from being employed to full-time positions on the college. The plaintiffs declare the coverage threatens to hurt SPU’s status and worsen an already shrinking enrollment. By presumably jeopardizing the varsity’s future, they argue, the board is breaching its fiduciary obligation.

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The board members mentioned the lawsuit constitutes nothing greater than an try to punish them for exercising their duties as trustees, which incorporates “assembling and talking about institutional non secular beliefs, insurance policies, and church affiliations.”

They famous that three board members are volunteers “with clear statutory immunity.” The fourth, the varsity’s interim president, Pete Menjares, is a former volunteer “who accepted the decision to guide SPU as interim president throughout a tough season.”

“For his or her service, they’re being focused for litigation to punish them for the ‘fallacious’ non secular beliefs and to ship a message to different potential volunteers: the fallacious non secular beliefs will get you sued,” they mentioned of their submitting.

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In the meantime, a collective of scholars, alumni, college and workers often known as Seattle Pacific LGBTQ+ Protest, are persevering with to lift cash to fund the lawsuit.

Thus far, greater than $75,000 has been raised, with funds going to the alumni-organized Our Group LLC that was created to pay authorized charges for this case, according to the GoFundMe site

“This started as a group protest, and we have now to maintain it going as a group. That implies that we’re all combating for queer rights, collectively,” the group mentioned. 

The movement for dismissal was filed Nov. 28 by board members Matthew Whitehead, Mark Mason, Dean Kato and Menjares. A courtroom date has been set for Feb. 17.

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