Faith-Based Shelter Fights To Keep Out Transgender Women

Alliance Defending Freedom has sued the city of Anchorage to stop it from applying a gender identity law to the Hope Center shelter.

This Nov. 1, 2018, file photo shows the Hope Center women's shelter in downtown Anchorage. Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law firm, is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the city from applying its gender identity law to the Hope Center shelter. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen,File)

A conservative Christian law firm that has pushed religious issues in multiple states urged a U.S. judge on Friday to block Alaska’s largest city from requiring a faith-based women’s shelter to accept transgender women.

Alliance Defending Freedom has sued the city of Anchorage to stop it from applying a gender identity law to the Hope Center shelter, which denied entry to a transgender woman last year. The lawsuit says homeless shelters are exempt from the local law and that constitutional principles of privacy and religious freedom are at stake.

Alliance attorney Ryan Tucker said many women at the shelter are survivors of violence and allowing biological men would be highly traumatic for them. He told U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason that women have told shelter officials that if biological men are allowed to spend the night alongside them, "they would rather sleep in the woods," even in extreme cold like the city has experienced this week with temperatures hovering around zero.