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Bisexual lawyer rejected by Union Gospel Mission sues

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 17, 2017

Associated Press

SEATTLE – A bisexual Christian man is suing Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission after it refused to hire him as an attorney because of his sexual orientation.

The Seattle Times reports the Union Gospel Mission, which has provided addiction recovery, emergency shelter and legal support services for homeless people in King County since 1932, says employees must live by a “Biblical moral code.”

When a staff attorney position opened in October 2016 for the nonprofit, religion-based organization, mission volunteer Matthew Woods was encouraged to apply, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in King County Superior Court.

He disclosed he was in a same-sex relationship, the lawsuit said, and was then told he couldn’t seek the job because the Employee Code of conduct prohibits homosexuality.

“All staff members are expected to live by a Biblical moral code that excludes extramarital affairs, sex outside of marriage, homosexual behavior, drunkenness, illegal behavior, use of illegal drugs, and any activity that would have an appearance of evil,” states the Employee Code of Conduct.

Woods, 31, still applied for the job, and was not interviewed.

“It was a dream job,” he said. “It was heartbreaking,”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Jeff Lilley, Union Gospel Mission president and licensed minister, makes no apologies.

All 230 employees must sign and attempt to live by this code of conduct and statement of faith, he said.

“We hire people passionate about the Bible,” he said. “We ask they live lifestyles that are consistent with biblical values.”

Woods said he is a man of Christian faith.

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