Discrimination complaint filed against attorney

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) The attorney himself is defending a homeless shelter from a discrimination complaint.

    KTUU News reported Attorney Kevin Clarkson is representing the downtown Hope Center.  Samantha Coyle filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission.  She claims she was denied access to the shelter because of her gender identity.

    The complaint said the attorney had provided information to the press that implied or stated that transgender individuals would not be allowed at the soup kitchen downtown.

    A city ordinance prohibits public accommodations from discriminating against someone based on gender identity, race, age and sexuality.

    In a brief file with the commission on the original complaint, Clarkson argued the shelter is not subject to discrimination laws on public accommodations because it is a private faith-based facility. He also argued the First Amendment protects the shelter's right to refuse entry to a "biological male" in a shelter for abused and battered women.

    The First Liberty Institute, a legal organization based in Plano, Texas, is representing Clarkson in the complaint against him.

    Clarkson's attorney said said he fears a precedent could be set of trying to intimidate an attorney representing a faith-based organization.  They filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.

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