DENVER — The Denver Rescue Mission is removing anti-LGBTQ employment policies from its handbook in the wake of Saturday’s Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs.
In a statement released Monday, Denver Rescue Mission said it’s reevaluating “recent changes made to our Employee Handbook.”
“After dialogue with the Denver Rescue Mission’s Board of Directors and Senior Leadership team today, we have determined it is appropriate to re-evaluate recent changes made to our Employee Handbook and have paused its implementation. In particular, the phrases “acting on same sex attraction” and “rejecting of one’s biological sex” will be removed. We will be engaging in further discussion before asking employees to sign the handbook,” the release said.
The Christian nonprofit came under fire after a Denverite article published last week exposed the anti-LGBTQ language in the organization’s employee handbook.
The City of Denver, which has a policy protecting LGBTQ members from discrimination, has an $8.7 million contract with the Denver Rescue Mission to provide services for the city’s homeless population.
Legal experts told Denverite they believe the organization violates both state and federal law.
Although religious organizations are exempt from federal laws protecting LGBTQ members from discrimination, legal experts told the Denver news organization that recent case rulings from the 10th Circuit Court have narrowly defined that exemption to only a ministry setting, and not the context in which the Denver Rescue Mission works in.
“While the Mission will remain committed to our Statement of Faith, leadership realizes that continued dialogue is important to all supporters. For the last 130 years, Denver Rescue Mission has faithfully served individuals experiencing homelessness, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, and any other protected class, and plan to continue to serve them with love, grace, and dignity as Christ calls us to serve,” the Denver Rescue Mission said in a statement.
The organization’s announcement came a day after a gunman opened fire inside the LGBTQ nightclub, Club Q, in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 19.