News (USA)

A ‘Christian’ homeless shelter is suing for the right to ban trans women

A ‘Christian’ homeless shelter is suing for the right to ban trans women
Photo: Shutterstock

A “Christian” homeless shelter in Anchorage, Alaska is suing for the right to discriminate against transgender people seeking help. The lawsuit seeks to overturn the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance that prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people.

The shelter, Downtown Soup Kitchen, is represented by the far right legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom. The same outfit represented bigoted baker Jack Phillips before the Supreme Court in his bid to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. The group has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hope Center, a Christian nonprofit that operates the shelter for homeless women, turned away a transgender woman twice in January. While the facility had cause to turn her away (she showed up drunk once and after hours the second time), they couldn’t resist taking a jab at LGBTQ people.

Related: ADF attorney calls Matthew Shepard’s murder a hate crime hoax

As Anchorage was voting on whether or not to strike transgender people from the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, an attorney for the shelter told a local newspaper that they would never admit a “biological male” into the facility despite how the vote turned out.

The measure was defeated at the ballot box.

But after the attorney’s remarks became public, the city initiated an investigation of the facility. The woman who was turned away also filed a complaint with the city’s Equal Rights Commission. Neither case has been resolved.

So the shelter is suing, saying the lack of action on the accusations means the city is targeting the Christian group based on their beliefs. Homeless shelters are exempt from the city’s ordinance, but that hasn’t stopped ADF from trying to use the opportunity to attack LGBTQ people again. The group regularly tries to overturn local nondiscrimination ordinances that include LGBTQ people.

“It would not only be dangerous and against common sense, but it would violate the Hope Center’s sincerely held religious beliefs to admit biological men into its shelter and allow them to sleep side by side and disrobe next to women,” the lawsuit claims.

“There is simply no evidence that transgender people are more of a threat to anyone, whether that be in bathrooms, locker rooms, or homeless shelters,” David Dinielli, Deputy Legal Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told local news station KTUU. “In fact, we know transgender people are among the most, if not the most likely to be targeted for abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse.”

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