Trans Activist Tries To Shut Down Battered Women’s Shelter

Richard Dawkins of course does not like ADF, saying of this case: “On its face, it’s a response to a specific complaint of alleged discrimination, similar to the cases ADF has taken defending bakers, florists, and photographers who have been found in violation of nondiscrimination ordinances for not serving same-sex couples. But this particular response is actually a messy overreach mirroring ADF’s other pre-enforcement challenges that seek to override all LGBTQ protections in the name of ‘religious liberty’.” (You can hear his snarkiness in his “religious liberty” comment come through his keyboard.)

You see, this is another piece of evidence (along with others: here, here, and here for examples) that you can either have liberty… liberty to start a religious bettered women’s shelter that helps a myriad of women and their children, or not have one at all – thus EQUALLY not helping all people. The Left really doesn’t care about battered women. They CARE about equality. And you cannot have liberty with that mindset. That is evident from this case and others.

NATIONAL REVIEW notes another similarity to “equal rights commissions” in other states with similar cases.

If this case alone wasn’t disturbing enough, the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission sued Hope’s lawyer after he made comments to a local reporter defending the shelter. According to the commission, publicizing the facts of the case also violated the anti-discrimination law. And so the commission’s fervor also led it to abandon the First Amendment.

The Hope Center acted not out of animus toward the transgendered: It was simply protecting the women sheltered there. The shelter does not discriminate against transgender people. Biological women are allowed admittance even if they identify as men. Such transgender biological women have slept at the shelter without incident.

The shelter even tries to accommodate biological men to the extent it can do so without jeopardizing its core mission of helping vulnerable women. The shelter has previously offered Coyle himself services, serving him meals and allowing him to shower by himself — he simply could not sleep there.

It is almost certainly true that most supporters of Anchorage’s anti-discrimination statute had good intentions. The law makes it illegal to “refuse, withhold from or deny to a person any of its accommodations, advantages, facilities, benefits, privileges, services or goods of that place on account of” a variety of factors, including “gender identity.” The statute defines a public accommodation as “any business or professional activity that is open to, accepts or solicits the patronage of, or caters or offers goods or services to the general public.”

Most of the statute’s proponents probably believed that it would prevent restaurants from turning prospective customers away because of issues related to their sex or gender identity. They likely thought it would help combat the despicable discrimination that characterized Jim Crow and segregation. They almost certainly did not imagine a situation in which it would be used to allow a drunken biological man, with a history of violent criminal behavior, to sleep next to women who had escaped abusive homes and sex-trafficking.

Unfortunately, ample evidence from a variety of cases shows that these statutes are not enforced or interpreted by the well-meaning citizens who support them. Rather, they are enforced by the true believers who staff state civil-rights commissions and similar agencies in dogged pursuit of a very specific notion of justice….

WND has an excellent synopsis as well:

….ADF Legal Counsel Denise Harle said many of the women Downtown Hope Center serves have suffered rape, physical abuse and domestic violence.

“They shouldn’t be forced to sleep or disrobe in the same room as a man,” she said.

“Battered women need a safe place to stay, but, incredibly, Anchorage is trying to take that place away.”

The complaint contends the city is trying to shut down the religious ministry “through an unconstitutional application of its public accommodations and fair housing laws.”

Anchorage “prohibits public accommodations from denying services based on sex or gender identity or state those services will be denied. It also forbids property owners or their agents from communicating any preference or limitation on the use of real property based on sex or gender identity,” the lawyers told the judge.

“Hope Center has not violated this law. It is not a public accommodation, and the code exempts homeless shelters, like Hope Center,” the brief explains.

The problem?

“The last eight months, Anchorage has used the code to investigate, harass, and pressure Hope Center to admit men into its women’s only shelter, and to stop Hope Center’s exercise of its religious beliefs.”

It was because the center “had directed an inebriated and injured transgender individual to a hospital.”

Not only did Basler attack the center, she then “initiated a second complaint” accusing its lawyers of violating the code by answering questions about the case in the media.

Then it refused to dismiss the complaints, instead continuing its prosecution, which forced the center and its lawyers “to stay silent about its policies and its religious beliefs.”

“These actions are not only unconstitutional, they have handcuffed Hope Center’s ability to defend itself in public and hindered its ability to raise funds,” the filing says.

The result is that the center “faces the prospect of closing its shelter, and needs immediate injunctive relief to stop Anchorage’s unconstitutional targeting.”

There was such hostility on the part of the city’s commission that when ADF, an internationally known organization that frequently argues before the U.S. Supreme Court, stepped in, the city initially refused to correspond with its lawyers.

Further, the city’s agency refused to let a lawyer for the center have a conference transcribed so there would be a record. City officials accused the center of lying in its answers, but they refused to make public the “materials that supposedly proved inconsistencies.”

Then city officials continued their “provocative behavior” by accusing the center of failing to supplement its responses “even though it had previously tried to do so and had been instructed by the commission that no more documents need be exchanged.”

And the city missed a 240-day deadline for filing the first complaint, a fault that was ignored when the city eventually dismissed the second complaint.

The complaint also warns the city.

“When government acts with hostility toward religion, litigants establish a free-exercise violation without need to satisfy strict scrutiny,” the filing said. “Anchorage has acted with such hostility because it is using the code to pressure Hope Center to change its religious beliefs and practices. This is most evidence because the code does not even cover Hope Center. Hope Center’s women shelter is not a public accommodation.”

The state of Colorado’s “hostility” against baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in prosecuting him for refusing to promote homosexuality in violation of his faith, was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its June decision in Phillips’ favor.

The complaint in the Anchorage case provides many examples of the city’s hostility, including the commission’s orders that the center “stay silent about its religious policies and beliefs.”

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