Georgetown University, entangled in a legal struggle with gay rights groups over a longstanding discrimination complaint, is set to lose $70 million in tax-exempt bonding authority next week because it has failed to comply with D.C. human rights law.

The bond issue, originally authorized in 1985, is one of two granted by the District government to the Jesuit institution that year. The bonds have remained unsold, however, because language was added to the legislation stipulating that the university must first certify that it does not violate the District's 1977 human rights statute by discriminating in access to services or facilities for a number of reasons, including sexual preference.

University officials have withheld privileges for campus activities by gay groups, saying that granting such permission would violate the tenets of the Catholic Church, which considers the practice of homosexuality to be a sin.

Shortly before D.C. Council members recessed last week for the summer, Mayor Marion Barry sent an emergency request on behalf of Georgetown that would have extended the lives of separate $70 million and $127 million bond authorizations. The larger authorization would expire Dec. 26, the smaller one July 25.

Council member John Wilson (D-Ward 2), who heads the Finance and Revenue Committee, said late last week that the council's position on the bond authorizations had not changed. "I have no difficulty in issuing the bonds if they come in compliance with the law."

The university and gay activists are awaiting the appeal of a 1980 discrimination suit filed against the university that has been pending since 1985. A previous lower court ruling favored Georgetown, but the plaintiffs took their case to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Georgetown spokesman Gary Krull said that the university had obtained "alternative financing" from private sources for development projects that were originally slated to be financed with the tax- exempt bond money.

Krull did not elaborate on what the university would do if the city-backed bond authority lapses, saying that university officials cannot discuss some aspects of their financing efforts as long as the court case is unresolved.

Garland Pinkston, deputy director of Barry's office of intergovernmental relations, said that university officials asked the mayor's office to submit legislation to the council at the end of June that would have extended the life of the bonds to 1990.

"Georgetown was very concerned about preserving the authority of the District government to issue bonds on their behalf, for obvious reasons," said Pinkston. "That's a lot of money."

"We probably can't save the $70 million," Pinkston said of the expiring bond authorizations. "But if they do something in the next few months, we could probably issue the $127 million if {Georgetown} straightens out their problems with the gay community."

Lorri L. Jean, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance and a plaintiff in the suit against Georgetown, said that her organization has urged council members to allow the bond authorizations to lapse.

University officials "are not even attempting to bring their behavior into compliance with human rights law," said Jean, citing the university's eviction of Dignity, a gay Catholic group, from campus. "Why give them the privilege of having millions of dollars of bonds held in abeyance awaiting their compliance?"

A Georgetown effort to qualify for $200 million in tax-exempt bonding authority from the state of Maryland was aborted during the General Assembly session this year after state university officials as well as gay activists complained that the measure was an attempt to sidestep D.C. law.