The city of Anchorage has ended its legal action against a faith-based homeless shelter that forbids males from entering spaces reserved for women who are victims of domestic violence.
Following an August loss in federal court, officials in the most populous Alaskan city have formally dropped a February 2018 complaint with the Equal Rights Commission against Downtown Hope Center, which had referred an inebriated man — who identified as a woman — to a hospital to receive care and paid for his taxi to get there. The trans-identified man subsequently filed a complaint saying that the center disallowed him from staying at the shelter where he would have been sleeping next to abused women.
Thus, with the city’s move, the court decision in favor of the homeless shelter in August is permanent.
Downtown Hope Center was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal nonprofit firm specializing in religious liberty and First Amendment cases.
“All Americans should be free to live out their faith and serve their neighbors — especially homeless women who have suffered sexual abuse or domestic violence — without being targeted or harassed by the government,” ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said Monday in response to the development.
“This is the right outcome. Downtown Hope Center serves everyone, but women deserve a safe place to stay overnight. No woman — particularly not an abuse survivor — should be forced to sleep or disrobe next to a man.”
The Anchorage commission had been investigating whether or not the shelter had violated the city’s equal protection law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of the category of “gender expression.” The center maintained that it had the legal right to set policies on who could and could not stay in its facility.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter