A settlement between the Downtown Hope Center and the Municipality of Anchorage has secured the Anchorage women’s shelter’s right to set rules for its overnight shelter.
Those rules, at present, don’t include allowing men in the door. Nor transgendered individuals, for that matter. Women are sleeping on mats on the floor at the center, in very close proximity and many of them are highly traumatized women who have been living on the street and have significant mental and emotional health needs.
The Hope Center and its legal allies, Alliance for Defending Freedom, sued the Municipality after the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission tried to enforce a municipal equal rights laws that include gay and transgendered people as protected classes.
A man, who claimed to be a women, was refused entrance to the shelter in January of 2017, setting off a series of legal actions. The man, who now apparently presents himself as a woman, filed the initial complaint with the Equal Rights Commission, saying that he had been discriminated against at a place that provides “public accommodation.” He alleged he was refused entry because he is transgendered and cannot be refused service.
At one point, the Equal Rights Commission sued the lawyer who defended the center — Kevin Clarkson — for talking about the case publicly with the media. Clarkson is now the state’s Attorney General. Those charges were later dropped by the Municipality.
Now, Anchorage will pay the Hope Center’s legal team Alliance for Defending Freedom $100,000 to cover its attorneys’ fees and to end the legal dispute, and has agreed that the women’s shelter may not only set its rules, but is allowed to discuss its rules, post its rules, and enforce them.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Alliance for Defending Freedom a “hate group,” because of its defense of heterosexuality and traditional marriage.