Virulently anti-LGBTQ legal group, Alliance Defending Freedom, is representing a ‘Christian’ women’s shelter that is suing to deny transgender women shelter from the freezing winter cold.
The conservative law firm, which represented Colorado baker Jack Phillips in his fight to deny services to gay people, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the ironically named Downtown Hope Center against the city of Anchorage, Alaska, to deny services to transgender women.
The issue arises from an incident that occurred in January 2018, when a transgender woman was turned away from the shelter, according to local news station KTUU.
Downtown Hope Center says the woman, identified in court papers as “Jessie Doe,” was denied shelter because she was allegedly inebriated. The shelter claims she was put into a taxi and sent to a hospital for treatment for a cut on her forehead.
But the same woman showed up the next day and again was turned away.
The average temperature in Anchorage at night during January is 9 degrees.
In September 2015, the Anchorage Assembly passed AO-09, a city ordinance which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The ordinance added protections to Anchorage’s equal rights laws for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people in housing, employment and public accommodations and includes exemptions for religious groups and those with ministerial duties.
In a press release, ADF asserts the ordinance exempts homeless shelters like the Hope Center. ADF attorney Ryan Tucker told U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason that the homeless women in the shelter would “rather sleep in the woods” than spend a night in a shelter with a transgender woman.
In a further slap to trans women, the ADF also says that because many of the women at the shelter have been battered or sexually abused by men, they shouldn’t have to sleep in proximity to ‘men.’ ADF calls the idea of trans women sleeping in the shelter ‘dangerous.’
But the Southern Poverty Law Center disagrees.
“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 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."
It’s worth noting that the Hope Center receives some of its operating funds from public tax payer monies via a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The ADF, which has represented so-called ‘religious freedoms’ lawsuits in more than a dozen states, has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group which works to push trans people “back into the shadows.”