A lesbian couple from Long Beach, Calif. filed a lawsuit in Hawaii state court Monday against the Aloha Bed & Breakfast, charging the business denied them lodging because of their sexual orientation.
The Associated Press reports on the lawsuit Lambda Legal filed on behalf of Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford in First Circuit Court in Honolulu. When Cervelli called the business in the east Honolulu neighborhood of Hawaii Kai in 2007 to book a room and requested one bed, the owner Phyllis Young asked whether they are lesbians. The owner said she was uncomfortable having lesbians stay because of her religious views.
"Refusing to let the couple book a room was solely based on their sexual orientation because the owner indicated that if they were married, she would not have allowed them to stay there, said their attorney, Peter Renn of Lambda Legal's Los Angeles office," according to the AP. "The lawsuit claims the business violated Hawaii's public accommodation law prohibiting any inn or other establishment that provides lodging from discriminating based on sexual orientation, race, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, ancestry or disability."
Young, who is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian conservative legal group, declined to comment to the AP. She told the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission in its investigation prior to the lawsuit that homosexuality is "detestable" and "defiles our land."
The lawsuit seeks an order for the business to comply with the law, a declaration that an illegal action occurred, and unspecified monetary compensation. Lambda Legal is also investigating whether the Aloha Bed & Breakfast is licensed to operate in Honolulu.