Michelle Wang, a Chicago lesbian originally from Indianapolis, says that she was turned away from a homeless shelter because of her sexuality. From the Chicago Tribune:
Finally, Wang blurted out that she was a lesbian. The staffer immediately put her on hold. After a long wait, Wang got the word she feared: There were no beds available. She would have to fend for herself for another night in the unseasonably cold fall weather. In complaints with city and state officials and in an expected lawsuit, the 27-year-old Wang alleges New Life Interim Housing, a homeless shelter in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, discriminated against her on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Presbyterian pastor who runs the shelter said that the evidence that shows open beds that night was just a recording error, but also said:
Some of our staff are less comfortable with homosexual, gay and lesbian folks than others are. Our policy as a ministry is to welcome every single person as a child of God.I don't know about this pastor's religious beliefs, but his comments in the article sound an awful lot like "Hate the sin, love the sinner", and we all know where that ends up when the sin is an immutable part of one's identity.
This comes on the heels of the Task Force study that found that 20-40% of homeless youth are LGBT and the NY Times story on discrimination against queer youth in homeless shelters and indication that homeless advocacy groups won't ask for federal funding for diversity training or LGBT-focused programs because they fear that the Religious Right will retaliate by taking away funding from homeless shelters.
So is this Falwell's legacy?
(Photo from the Chicago Tribune)