Hope Center comes out on top in dispute with Anchorage Equal Rights Commission
The question of whether an Anchorage faith-based women's shelter should be forced to accept transgender women has been settled through an agreement with the Municipality of Anchorage.
The case centered around an incident that happened almost two years ago at the Downtown Soup Kitchen, now called The Hope Center.
In January of 2018, the center refused to accept a transgender woman because they said she was drunk and injured. Staff at the center put her in a cab and gave her a ride to a local hospital. The woman filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, saying she had been discriminated against.
Attorney Ryan Tucker, with the Alliance Defending Freedom, represented the Hope Center in a federal lawsuit against the city and the Equal Rights Commission. Tucker said there was no discrimination in this case, but he added that the center shouldn't have to accept someone who is biologically male.
"This facility in particular caters and provides a safe haven for women specifically. And they've told us that even the sight of a man at night three feet away causes them obvious emotional harm," he said.
The city of Anchorage has laws that prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on a number of factors including gender identity. The Hope Center is arguing that its shelter should be exempt, and that forcing staff to accept transgender women violates their religious beliefs.
In an agreement filed Monday, the parties have settled the matter without further litigation. The defendants agree that the center is not acting in violation of municipal code, as it is not an "owner or operator of a public accommodation."
The Municipality will fork over a symbolic $1, in addition to paying The Hope Center's attorneys $100,000.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.