The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission has dropped charges against an attorney but is still pursuing action against a women’s shelter after it refused a biological man.
A transgender person who was born a man but identifies as a woman filed a complaint in February with the commission against the faith-based Anchorage Downtown Hope Center, which turned away the person.
A city law bars discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.
The center said it turned away the person because he came when he was intoxicated and then when it was closed. Still, representatives for the center said it would have refused him anyway because it houses many women who have experienced abuse – and because the man could have traumatized them and created safety risks.
The Equal Rights Commission pursued the case against the center but also against its attorney, Kevin Clarkson, after he spoke about the case in the media. The charges against Clarkson were dropped earlier this month.
Attorneys for First Liberty represented Clarkson.
“The right to legal counsel is a hallmark of our republic,” said Hiram Sasser, general counsel for First Liberty. “Our legal system is premised on the idea that everyone has legal rights and that the government must afford them a full and fair opportunity to defend themselves. We are grateful that the AERC abandoned these baseless charges.”
The case against the Downtown Hope Center will continue. A countersuit against the Equal Rights Commission was filed in federal court, according to KTUU-TV.
Supporters of the center say the government’s action is an example of the problems with gender identity non-discrimination laws.
“Should a faith-based shelter for biological women who have been abused be forced by the government into opening their doors to a biological man?” Jim Minnery of Alaska Family Action wrote earlier this year.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Peter Hershey/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.