Anchorage lets faith-based women's shelter deny access to transgender women after court order

Anchorage lets faith-based women's shelter deny access to transgender women after court order
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The city of Anchorage, Alaska, has agreed to let a faith-based women's shelter deny access to transgender women following a legal battle that ended Monday.

Anchorage officials cemented a federal judge's order banning the city from enforcing its gender identity law at Hope Center, a Christian women's shelter, The Associated Press reported.

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Anchorage Municipal Attorney Becky Windt Pearson told the AP that U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason's order indicated the city was unlikely to win the case, and public protection laws could not be applied to private entities.

"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 told the AP.

Gleason was appointed to the bench by former President Obama.

The senior counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents the shelter, applauded the outcome in a statement.

“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,” ADF 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.”

The shelter sued the city last year following complaints from a transgender woman that she was not allowed in the shelter. The woman, named "Jessie Doe" in the complaint, attempted to enter the shelter in January 2018, the newswire reported.

Shelter officials attempted to finance her trip to a hospital after Doe fought with another woman at the shelter, according to the AP.

The Hill reached out to the city's municipal attorney's office for comment.