The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night heard testimony on a change in local law that would force shelters for women to accept biological males.
Then the Assembly voted 8-2 to revise Anchorage Municipal Code Title 5, the Equal Rights section, to prohibit women’s shelters from barring men who say they are women.
Assemblywomen Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy, both from Eagle River, voted against the measure.
The measure is in response to the Hope Center in downtown Anchorage, a Christian shelter which allows women to sleep shoulder to shoulder on mats on the floor, but does not permit biological males in the shelter, even if they identify as women.
The Hope Center faced a complaint by a transgendered individual and successfully fought it in court, ultimately settling with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission. The Municipality of Anchorage paid $100,001 to the Hope Center and was forced to allow the shelter to continue operating for biological women only.
People testified on both sides of the matter before the vote was taken. One testifier said that because the Assembly had in a previous meeting appropriated funds for a transgender shelter for 18-24-year-olds, it had established precedence that some people need specific safe spaces.
The changes to Title 5 had already been through two work sessions but sets up the city for a lawsuit down the road, if a women in a shelter is attacked or traumatized by having to share space with a male.
It appears the liberal Assembly is trying to push measures like this through before Dave Bronson is sworn In as mayor on July 1, when he would have the power to veto such changes.