The Downtown Hope Center, a Christian-based ministry providing shelter to battered women in Anchorage, Alaska, won a victory last week against the “trans” lobby and for the safety and privacy of the women it serves.
Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission (AERC) from enforcing a municipal anti-discrimination ordinance against Hope Center pending the outcome of the center’s lawsuit challenging the applicability of the ordinances.
In 2018, a “transwoman” identified in court papers as “Jessie Doe” was twice denied access to the overnight shelter due, according to the facts in the court order, to policy violations unrelated to his trans-identity. Days later Doe filed a complaint with the AERC, accusing Hope Center of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The AERC investigation found that the center had violated municipal ordinances prohibiting discrimination relative to “public accommodation” and rentals. Hope Center sued in federal court, contending that homeless shelters are not deemed public accommodations under the law and that it is within its First Amendment right of religious liberty to operate as it does.
In issuing the injunction, Judge Gleason ruled that the civil rights ordinance and the rental law do not apply to homeless shelters because they are not places of “public accommodation.
The AERC can appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit or pursue a trial on the merits in the District Court.
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