WENHAM — The ACLU of Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit charging Gordon College with retaliation against a professor for speaking out against the college's position on LGBT issues.

The ACLU said that Gordon College President Michael Lindsay and the college Board of Trustees threatened to fire philosophy professor Lauren Barthold after she wrote a letter to a newspaper and was quoted in a story criticizing the school.

The administration did not fire Barthold, but it removed her from faculty leadership positions, denied her the right to apply for a promotion, and removed her as director of the gender studies minor, according to the ACLU.

Barthold spoke out against the college after Lindsay signed a letter in 2014 urging President Barack Obama to create a religious exception to an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The letter sparked an online petition and prompted some communities to end ties with Gordon College, including Salem, Hamilton and Lynn.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Essex Superior Court, contends that Gordon officials violated state laws protecting against retaliation for opposing discrimination, the ACLU said.

Check back for more information as it becomes available. 

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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