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Faith-based women's shelter can turn away trans women following city decree: No female abuse survivor 'should be forced to sleep or disrobe next to a man'


Big win for the organization

Image source: KTUU-TV video screenshot

An Anchorage, Alaska, women's shelter will be permitted to deny access to transgender women as a result of a new city decree, NBC News reported.

What happened?

In 2018, a transgender woman, who said she was not allowed entry to the shelter, filed a complaint against Hope Center, which houses homeless and abused women, according to KTUU-TV. The transgender woman was allegedly inebriated when she attempted to enter the shelter.

Following the woman's complaint, the city said that Hope Center should allow transgender women to take shelter in the facility and filed its own complaint against the shelter.

Anchorage officials said that a federal judge ordered that Hope Center — a Christian women's shelter — would not be required to follow public gender identity law as Hope Center is a private entity.

Anchorage Municipal Attorney Becky Windt Pearson told the Associated Press that U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason's court order indicated the city was not likely to win the case against Hope Center.

"We had a fairly clear message from the federal court through Judge Gleason's order that she did not think that we would prevail in our argument that downtown Hope Center fell within the definition of public accommodation," Windt Pearson explained.

The Associated Press reported that as part of the new consent decree "the city also has agreed to pay the shelter $1 in damages and $100,000 in attorneys' fees and other costs."

What else?

A statement from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Hope Center, expressed their appreciation for the ruling.

"All Americans should be free to live out their faith and serve their neighbors — especially homeless women who have suffered sexual abuse or domestic violence — without being targeted or harassed by the government," senior counsel Kate Anderson said. "This is the right outcome. Downtown Hope Center serves everyone, but women deserve a safe place to stay overnight. No woman — particularly not an abuse survivor — should be forced to sleep or disrobe next to a man."

Alliance attorney Ryan Tucker told the AP, "Faith-based nonprofits should be free to serve consistently with their beliefs and mission. The end of this case means the center can continue its critically needed work to help the vulnerable women it serves and fulfill its duty to do everything it can to protect them."

One shelter resident says that she's relieved by the court order.

"I've heard on occasion some of the women talk about how they're thankful that men are not allowed in there ... it's just all women," she told the station. "I'm thankful they're still open. I don't like to see people coming in and causing problems."

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