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Lesbian couple wins discrimination lawsuit in Hawaii

LGBT Legal Cases Right-wing

By Scottie Thomaston

A lesbian couple from California has won their discrimination lawsuit against a Hawaiian bed and breakfast. The state has a public accommodations law barring discrimination against gays and lesbians, as well as others. The couple told the owner of the bed and breakfast that they would only need one bed, and the owner asked if they were lesbians, and ultimately refused service.

Lambda Legal, along with a Hawaii law firm, filed the suit:

Lambda Legal joined by co-counsel from the Hawai’i-based firm of Carlsmith Ball LLP represents Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, a lesbian couple who were denied public accommodation because of their sexual orientation by Aloha Bed & Breakfast, located in Hawai‘i Kai. The Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission joined the lawsuit to protect and enforce the state public accommodations law. That law prohibits any place of public accommodation — including specifically an inn or “other establishment that provides lodging to transient guests” — from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, race, sex, including gender identity or expression, color, religion, ancestry, or disability.

“The Court’s decision is based on Hawai‘i’s strong state civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination,” Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission Executive Director William Hoshijo said. “When visitors or residents are subjected to discrimination, they suffer the sting of indignity, humiliation, and outrage, but we are all demeaned and our society diminished by unlawful discrimination. The Court order reminds us that our state legal protections against discrimination are a priority of the highest order and will be vigorously enforced.”

In today’s ruling, the Court found that Aloha Bed & Breakfast violated the state public accommodations law, and also ordered Aloha Bed & Breakfast to stop its ongoing business practice of discriminating against same-sex couples.

The ruling, which was dated April 11, ordered the owner of the bed and breakfast to refrain from discriminating against same-sex couples. (The public accommodations law itself covers race and other attributes as well):

The bed and breakfast violated the state public accommodations law and is ordered to stop discriminating against same-sex couples, according to the ruling dated April 11. The public accommodations law prohibits establishments that provide lodging to transient guests from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, race, color, ancestry, religion, disability and sex —including gender identity or expression.

Jim Hochberg, a Honolulu attorney representing the bed and breakfast’s owner said Monday the ruling doesn’t consider her First Amendment rights. “The public needs to be aware of this decision because it has far-reaching consequences,” he said.

The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission joined the lawsuit.

“The court’s decision is based on Hawaii’s strong state civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination,” commission Executive Director William Hoshijo said. “When visitors or residents are subjected to discrimination, they suffer the sting of indignity, humiliation and outrage, but we are all demeaned and our society diminished by unlawful discrimination.”

The owner of the bed and breakfast told Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commission that gays and lesbians are “detestable” during their investigation.

2 Comments

  • 1. To Find Out More | END(A)&hellip  |  April 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    […] Of course domestic news of discrimination and inequality play a large role as seen by posts such as “lesbian couple wins discrimination lawsuit in Hawaii” and “Delaware’s marriage equality bill gets first committee hearing today.” At the bottom […]

  • 2. thatruth  |  February 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    These carpet munchers got their way, enforcing their beliefs on the owners, no one owes these bishes sh*t. These out and proud gays make me sick thinking the world or other people owe them something. I think what the owner should have dis said she was booked, there are no rooms available.and hung up sometimes lying helps.

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