LEI DOWN THE LAW

Hawaiian Court Rules In Favor Of Lesbian Couple Ousted From Bed & Breakfast For Being Gay

diane-cervelliA Hawaiian First Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of a lesbian couple turned away from a bed in breakfast for being gay, an act in clear violation of the state’s public accommodations law. The law prohibits business owners from discriminating against customers based on race, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and hopefully the number of leis you decide to take from the welcome center (because everyone knows you can’t ever have enough).

In 2007, Southern California couple Diance Cervelli and Taeko Bufford were asked to leave the Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, Hawaii, after requesting an overnight room with one bed. When asked if they were planning on sleeping in just one bed together, the couple was turned away by B&B owner Phyllis Young, who told them she was uncomfortable accommodating gay people in her home. Young also claims she doesn’t allow unmarried couples to book rooms.

Jim Hochberg, an attorney representing Aloha Bed & Breakfast wants the world to know about the court’s decision, claiming his client’s decision is protected under her First Amendment rights, and laws governing businesses have no place in his client’s home. Perhaps she should have thought about that before turning her entire home into a business? “The public needs to be aware of this decision because it has far-reaching consequences,” he said.

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

Though justice has been served, the process hasn’t forced Young to act accordingly in the future. She told the Hawaii Human Rights Commission that homosexuality is “detestable” and “defies our land.”