Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kansas City Homeless Shelter Will Turn Away Married Gays from Family Shelter

A friend pointed me to a story out of Kansas City, MO, about City Union Mission, a Christian homeless shelter. The Kansas City Star approached the leadership of the mission and asked if a married same-sex couple would be allowed to stay at their family shelter.

Predictably, they said no:
Even if same-sex marriage becomes legal in both Missouri and Kansas — a matter now working its way through the courts — same-sex couples will not be allowed to stay as couples at City Union Mission’s family shelter.

“I knew this day would come, especially when the media would begin asking that question,” Doty said, deeply concerned about what effect the nonprofit’s decision could have on its broad community support and donations. “I truly hope you understand the can of worms this could open.

“…We are a Christian, faith-based organization that really does adhere to biblical standards. Our view is that it (same-sex marriage) is inappropriate. Our intent is not to shelter same-sex couples together.”

Married, same-sex couples who insist on being housed together will be referred to another area organization willing to accommodate them. Such organizations might include the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph and reStart Inc.
This doesn't surprise me. I have one friend who is currently struggling with homelessness in Kansas City, MO, and is sadly connected with the City Union Mission. Additionally, I work with a variety of individuals who have struggled at one point or another with homelessness. One of those folks stayed for a while at the City Union Mission.

The men who seek shelter there are required to sit through lengthy worship services (1-2 hours per service). They struggle with threats of violence and personal property thefts. They struggle with bedbug infestations -- both in the living areas and in the chapel area.

And you get charged nightly by the mission for the privilege of staying at the shelter.

My friend, after witnessing the latest in a string of anti-gay banter amongst some of the residents, sought help with starting up some kind of support group older LGBT homeless individuals. The shelter representative was apologetic about the threatening speech, but could not "condone" any LGBT support groups within the mission.

So it really doesn't surprise me that they wouldn't support married gay families who are homeless.


Katy Anders said...

This reminds me of some of the run-ins an old LGBT non-profit I was part of had with the Salvation Army. They took what was clearly a political position, dressed it up in religious garb and then used that to justify some of the most un-Jesus-like crap imaginable.


Donny Jacobs said...


PitchWeekly, a local current events and lifestyle handout, just did a cover story on how Fundie churches are encroaching on real estate in Kansas City. In the text of the story, the core homophobia of these churches, even the "progressive" ones, is underscored. The best you can hope for as an LGBT Christian in one of these congregations is a pastor who's willing to "ignore" your "sinful" status.

I don't know about you, Jon, but really . . . I don't want to be tolerated by Bible bigots. I'd rather be loathed by them. At least it's honest.