Battered Women’s Shelter Doesn’t Need To Admit Trans-Woman, Court Rules


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An Anchorage civil rights panel cannot enforce an anti-discrimination ordinance against a battered women’s shelter that refused to admit a trans-woman, a federal court in Alaska ruled.

“Downtown Hope Center serves everyone, but women deserve a safe place to stay overnight,” said lawyer Kate Anderson of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a public interest law practice that represents Hope Center. “No woman — particularly not an abuse survivor — should be forced to sleep or disrobe next to a man. The court’s order will allow the center to continue in its duty to protect the vulnerable women it serves while this lawsuit moves forward.”

The shelter is a Christian ministry which operates consistent with its religious views, including the belief that sex is immutable. Hope Center serves approximately 142,000 meals per year, according to ADF lawyers.

The case arose in January 2018, when police officers brought a trans-woman identified as “Jessie Doe” in court papers to Hope Center. Doe smelled of alcohol, behaved in an agitated manner, and had an open wound above one eye. The shelter’s executive director declined to admit Doe, citing internal rules forbidding the admission of individuals who are under the

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