An Anchorage, Alaska, homeless shelter has asked a federal judge to order the city to back down from its persecutory enforcement of a nondiscrimination ordinance. City officials have subjected the Downtown Hope Shelter to a drawn-out investigation that has violated the shelter’s First Amendment rights, according to the Nov. 1 request for a preliminary injunction.
The case arose after the Hope Center’s women-only overnight shelter turned away a transgender person for drunkenness. The individual filed a discrimination complaint under the Anchorage nondiscrimination law, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Despite homeless shelters being exempt from the rule, Alliance Defending Freedom said the city has leveraged the law to “investigate, harass, and pressure” Hope Center.
“The injunction would mean that Anchorage can’t … force the Hope Center to allow men to come in the shelter and sleep and undress alongside these vulnerable homeless women,” ADF attorney Denise Harle said. —Rob Holmes