Hawaii: Judge Rules in Favor of Lesbian Couple Denied A Room At Bed & Breakfast

A Hawaii First Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of a US lesbian couple who sued a bed and breakfast in Hawaii for denying them a room because of their sexual orientation. The judge ruled on Monday that the business must stop discriminating based on sexual orientation.

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According to Pink News:

Diane Cervelli, 42, and Taeko Bufford, 28, filed the suit in 2011, saying they were turned away from the Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2007.

B&B owner Phyllis Young told the couple she was uncomfortable having a gay people in her house, but added that she also did not allow unmarried straight couples to share rooms.

It is illegal in Hawaii to deny public accommodation to anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation, along with their race, gender identity, religion or disability.

Cervelli said they had been able to find alternative accommodation but added: “In my past experiences in Hawaii, people have been so friendly.

“It was just hurtful. It made me feel we weren’t good enough.”

Young was being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, the group which was in 2011 granted permission to intervene in two cases at the European Court of Human Rights where religious beliefs clashed with non-discrimination laws.

The ADF says its goal is “through strategy, training, funding, and litigation, to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family”.

B&B owner Young reportedly told the Hawaii Human Rights Commission that being gay was “detestable” and “defiles our land”.

Here is a Timeline of the Court Case via LamdaLegal.com:

• December 19, 2011 Lambda Legal files complaint in the First Circuit Court of Hawai’i and the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) moves to intervene as a plaintiff.

• January 10, 2012 The defendant files a motion to dismiss the case.

• January 31, 2012 The Court allows the HCRC to intervene as a plaintiff. Both the plaintiffs and the HCRC file oppositions to defendant’s motion to dismiss.

• February 8, 2012 The Court holds a hearing on defendant’s motion to dismiss and denies the motion, allowing the plaintiffs’ case to proceed.

• April 15, 2013 Victory! The Court grants Lambda Legal’s and the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Aloha Bed & Breakfast violated Hawai’i’s public accommodations law and ordering that it stop discriminating against same-sex couples.