A women's homeless shelter in
Anchorage, Alaska has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to exclude
The Hope Center shelter filed the
federal lawsuit against the city and its Equal Rights Commission in
August. On Thursday, lawyers filed a motion asking a judge to issue
an injunction to stop the city from applying its anti-discrimination
law, which includes gender identity, to the shelter, the
The shelter is represented by the
Christian conservative Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). In comments
to the AP, ADF attorney Denise Harle described transgender women as
“men” and suggested that they represent a threat to the women
staying at the shelter.
Harle said that the injunction “would
mean that Anchorage can't apply the ordinance to the Hope Center in
order to force the Hope Center to allow men to come in the shelter
and sleep and undress alongside these vulnerable homeless women.”
Anchorage's Equal Rights Commission
began an investigation earlier this year after a transgender woman
complained that she was denied housing at the shelter.
Deputy Municipal Attorney Deitra Ennis,
who represents the city, said that the Hope Center had not cooperated
in its investigation and that seeking federal relief was premature
until local and state reviews are exhausted. Ennis added that
neither the city nor its Equal Rights Commission had taken
enforcement action before Thursday's filing.
The ADF, which claims that the
faith-based shelter is exempt from the local ordinance, has accused
the city of “harassing and pressuring” the downtown shelter.
The ADF has represented other
businesses that refuse to serve the LGBT community, including a
recent case that reached the Supreme Court involving a baker.
Court narrowly sides with baker who refused gay couple.)