Seeking Shelter from Political Correctness
October 04, 2019
On a January evening last year, an inebriated man tried to enter the Downtown Hope Center, an Anchorage, Alaska faith-based shelter that helps women seeking to escape domestic violence. In a display of compassion and prudence, the shelter arranged and paid for him to go to a hospital for care rather than allowing him to stay in a large room with women who had sought refuge from abusers. For that, city officials in Anchorage took the ministry to court. But what rational logic puts battered women in a single, big, shared room with biological men?
Thankfully, that question was answered with common sense in a court win this week by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. Raped and abused women seeking shelter will not be forced to sleep next to men, including men who identify as women.
ADF reported: "In the federal case, The Downtown Soup Kitchen dba Downtown Hope Center v. Municipality of Anchorage, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska issued an order saying Anchorage's public accommodation law does not apply to the center's women's shelter... Shortly after that order, the commission dropped its pursuit of the original discrimination complaint and on Monday filed documents jointly with ADF attorneys to make the preliminary order protecting the center permanent and end the case, subject to the court's approval."
ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker argued the case for the shelter and noted on Thursday's Washington Watch that if the Hope Center had lost the case, drastic changes were required.
"If the city of Anchorage had won their suit, a man who identified as a woman would also have been able to share not only the big open room, but showers and changing areas reserved for women. Is that right?" asked Washington Watch guest host Sarah Perry.
"That's right," he responded. "But practically speaking, the Hope Center would have had to shut down. They would have followed through on their ... values that you described, and they would not have been able to operate."
While this case ended in a win, another case before the Supreme Court right now has implications on conflicts involving gender identity, transgender status, and gender expression. And ADF is again taking the lead to protect religious liberty.
In Michigan, Tom Rost owns the Harris Funeral Homes, operated by his family for more than a hundred years. He will be before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday because of a complaint filed by a male employee who in 2013 said that he would no longer follow the company dress code of wearing sex-specific clothes for work. This led to a complaint from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The Harris case rests on reimaging the definition of "sex" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Redefining words is being used as a "battering ram" to go after faith-based people and businesses in recent years.
"All Americans should be able to rely on what the law says," said Tucker. "And we've seen countless examples of the government overstepping its bounds, trying to read into work, expand laws as written ... But we're very, very hopeful that the court in the Harris case will grant a victory, just like we were able to get a victory in Anchorage recently."
With all that's at stake in our nation, please pray for ADF and their team as on Tuesday they prepare to argue for the freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs.