A faith-based soup kitchen and women’s shelter in Alaska has filed a lawsuit against one of The Last Frontier’s biggest cities for ordering it to house transgender people who identify as female.
The Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center is suing Anchorage in response to issues that arose after staff at the Christian facility sent a transgender person — who was drunk — to a local hospital instead of allowing the individual to stay at the shelter.
According to legal documents shared by Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative law firm representing the women’s shelter, complainants argued the Hope Center was in violation of the Anchorage Municipal Code, which “prohibits public accommodations from denying services based on sex or gender identity or stating those services will be denied.”
As a result, the facility has been required to admit transgender people. But officials with Hope Center have claimed they are not, in fact, violating city codes.
“Hope Center has not violated this law. It is not a public accommodation, and the code exempts homeless shelters, like Hope Center,” the lawsuit reads, in part. “But the last eight months, Anchorage has used the code to investigate, harass, and pressure Hope Center to admit men into its women’s only shelter, and to stop Hope Center’s exercise of its religious beliefs.”
A federal judge in Alaska announced this week she has agreed to take on the case. Judge Sharon Gleason said the trial will begin April 8, 2020, according to The Associated Press.
In a statement about the ongoing case, the Alliance Defending Freedom said, if unreversed, the requirements placed on Hope Center “would not only force a religious ministry to abandon its mission and message, but also force homeless women to sleep alongside and interact with men in intimate settings — even though those women may have been beaten, raped, or sexually assaulted by a man the day before.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom, it should be noted, sought an injunction earlier this month to stop the city from forcing Hope Center to comply with its code on sexual orientation. The city, the law firm argued, has used the statute to “investigate, harass, and pressure” the faith-based shelter.