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Homeless shelter in Kansas City won’t house married, same-sex couples

Homeless shelter in Kansas City won’t house married, same-sex couples


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A nonprofit homeless shelter in Kansas City will not allow legally married same-sex couples to stay overnight together because officials believe those relationships violate biblical principles.

Leaders of the City Union Mission in Kansas City debated the decision for three or four years, but decided it must adhere to its Christian beliefs, executive director Dan Doty said. “Our view is that it (same-sex marriage) is inappropriate,” he said.

Married, same-sex couples who insist on staying together will be referred to other area shelters, such as the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph and reStart Inc.

Last week, some county clerks in Kansas handed out marriage license applications to gay couples after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage. A separate federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban has yet to be resolved. In Missouri, a federal judge has overturned the state’s ban, which is being appealed.

City Union is a private nonprofit that receives no government funding, meaning it is not bound by anti-discrimination rules. Officials at the Topeka Rescue Mission, another private, nonprofit Christian shelter, are still discussing the issue, The Kansas City Star reported.

City Union leaders have been considering their response for three or four years as the possibility of same-sex marriage becoming legal increased, Doty said.

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The Salvation Army, which receives some government funding, already allows same-sex couples to stay, said Maj. Evie Diaz, divisional commander of the post that serves western Missouri and all of Kansas.

“Our policy is non-discrimination toward anyone,” Diaz said. “We help. If you’re homeless and need a place to stay, we help.”

Shelters run by Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Lawrence Community Shelter also allow same-sex couples to stay.

Officials at the Topeka Rescue Mission have not allowed unmarried couples to stay together at the shelter, said Terry Hund, director of program development and media, and are considering a policy for legally married same-sex couples.

“At this point, we are definitely going to need to stop and discuss how we are going to approach this,” he said.

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