Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64We recently asked mission CEOs about the law- making battles that you think will be pivotal to your rescue mission in the near future. It’s obviously something on your hearts, based on the response we received. While this was certainly not a scientific poll, several topics emerged as clear battlegrounds. And while the answers weren’t 100 percent unani- mous, the top three areas tend to overlap. So it’s safe to say that every gospel rescue mission will soon deal with each of these issues in some form. SOGI—SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY F ar and away, the issues weighing most heav- ily on the minds of many rescue mission leaders revolve around the LGBT commu- nity. How do we best accommodate people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and: (1) stay true to our biblical beliefs; (2) not break the law; (3) not become a front-page story; and (4) not incur expensive remodeling costs. “I think the number one issue will be navigating the laws regarding marriage and sexual orientation,” says David McKinney, director of Idaho Falls Res- cue Mission. “I thought the first challenges would come in our family housing and was surprised to have two women show up with their children look- ing for housing in our emergency women’s and children shelter, and two men claiming to be married show up at our emergency men’s shelter. I’m sure the Fair Housing advocates are searching for legal battles to move their agenda forward.” Pastor Roy Tullgren agrees. “Depending on what happens in the next six to 12 months with the struggles of state and federal government battling over bathroom choice issues, this may become problematic if people will be allowed to have a choice of what shelter they prefer based upon their ‘sexual identity,’” the executive direc- tor of the Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson says. “So men identifying as women or in some rare cases, men who are predators claiming to identify as women, may be allowed to request housing in the female facility.” Certainly, serving all indi- viduals with dignity while trying to keep our facilities safe and welcoming for everyone is going to be the subject we are all talking about in the days ahead. These kinds of issues go further than a differ- ence of opinion; the way you choose to handle the issues could land you in court as the defendant in a discrimination lawsuit. “We do not currently shelter ‘couples’ in our women and children’s shel- ter—partly because of facility limitations, and partly to avoid discrimination lawsuits. Therefore, a ‘mar- ried man’ must stay at the men’s shelter and cannot stay with his wife and children,” says Mark Criss, executive director of City Rescue Mission of Lansing. “This avoids a potential lawsuit of same- sex couples or unmarried couples demanding to stay together. We are not technically treating them any different than an opposite sex couple; therefore there is no discrimination. However, I see the potential for lawsuits or a legal battle.” 20 WWW.AGRM.ORG JULY/AUGUST 2016 These kinds of issues go farther than a difference of opinion; the way you choose to handle the issues could land you in court as the defendant in a discrimination lawsuit.