It’s a legal victory for one lesbian couple from Southern California. A judge has ruled in favor of the couple and stated that a Hawaii bed and breakfast violated the law when the two women were denied a room because of their sexual orientation.
The Hawaii First Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of a Southern California couple who sued Aloha Bed & Breakfast for discrimination in 2011, Lambda Legal announced Monday. In 2007, Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford tried to book a room at the bed and breakfast but when Cervelli specified they would need one bed, the owner asked if they were lesbians. Cervelli said yes and the owner admitted that she was uncomfortable in having lesbians in her house because of her religious views.
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.
The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission released a statement in response to 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.”
As one commenter said, “Free speech is exercised with your… voice. Your actions affect others, and for that you can be held… responsible”.