Lesbian couple wins lawsuit against Hawaii hotel after barring them from single bed roomBy Mason White 9:28 AM April 16, 2013
|Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford|
By: Eva Fett
(Scroll down for video) A lesbian couple was humiliated when a Hawaii hotel denied them access to a single bed hotel room, according to a lawsuit filed in court.
Now, a judge has ruled that the Hawaiian bed and breakfast violated the law when the two women were denied a room because they are gay.
The judge of the First Circuit Court of Hawaii ruled in favor of the Southern California lesbian couple who sued Aloha Bed & Breakfast of discrimination. Several years ago, Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford tried to book a room at the bed and breakfast because it’s in Hawaii Kai, the same east Honolulu neighborhood where the friend they were visiting lived.
When Cervelli specified they would need one bed, the owner asked if they were lesbians. After Cervelli admitted to being in a lesbian relationship, the owner said she was uncomfortable with lesbians in her house because of her religious views, the lawsuit said.
The bed and breakfast operation violated the state law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The law prohibits public accommodation establishments providing temporary accommodation for guests to discriminate based on sexual orientation, race, color, ancestry, religion, disability and gender, including gender identity or expression, the judge ruled.
“It is extremely disappointing that an independent business owner has no religious rights in the United States. How can the government force people how to run their own privately funded business? This ruling baffles my mind,” Tori Odell, 32, from Santa Fe, New Mexico told YourJewishNews.com after learning about the ruling.
However, not everyone agreed with Odell.
“I am pleased by the judge’s ruling. I faced discrimination as a result of my sexual orientation for years now, and I am glad the courts are finally cracking down on such behavior which I believe is unacceptable in modern society,” Zelda Boggs, 23, who is currently in a lesbian relationship in Reno, Nevada told YourJewishNews.com.
Jim Hochberg, a lawyer representing the Honolulu bed and breakfast owner, said Monday the decision did not consider his client’s First Amendment rights. “The public should be aware of this decision, as it has far reaching consequences,” he said.
The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission joined in the lawsuit.
“The court’s decision is based on strong civil rights laws of the state of Hawaii, which prohibit discrimination,” Executive Director William Hoshijo, said. “When visitors or residents are subjected to discrimination, they suffer the sting of the indignity, humiliation and outrage,” he added.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view