Judge rules against Christian innkeeper who refused to rent bedroom to lesbian couple
HONOLULU, April 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – A Hawaii judge has ruled that a Christian woman broke the law when she declined to rent a bed in her in-home bed and breakfast to a pair of homosexual women.
Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, from Long Beach, CA, sued Aloha Bed and Breakfast owner Phyllis Young after she refused to rent them a room in 2007. According to their complaint, after they told Young that they would need only one bed, she asked them if they were homosexuals. When they confirmed that they were in a same-sex relationship, Young declined to rent them the room, citing religious beliefs against homosexuality and saying she would feel uncomfortable with lesbians staying in her home.
Cervelli and Bufford reported Young to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, which interviewed Young at her home. According to their report, Young confirmed that she denied the women lodging because of their lesbianism, and told investigators that she finds homosexuality a “detestable” practice that “defiles our land.”
Now, a judge has ruled that Young violated Hawaii’s public accommodations law, which says businesses that rent rooms to the public cannot discriminate based on race, sex, religion, sexual preference or gender identity.
Phone calls made by LifeSiteNews to Mrs. Young’s business line were not immediately returned. But Jim Hochberg, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom who represented Mrs. Young in the case, said the ruling was a violation of his client’s freedom of speech and religion under the First Amendment. “The public needs to be aware of this decision because it has far-reaching consequences,” he told reporters Monday.
However, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission Executive Director William Hoshijo applauded the court’s ruling. “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,” Hoshijo told the Associated Press.
As special protections are granted to homosexuals and same-sex “marriage” is legalized in more states, an increasing number of religious objectors to homosexuality have faced lawsuits for refusing to participate in gay “marriage” ceremonies or daring to speak out against homosexual behavior.
In a similar case in Vermont, a Roman Catholic couple agreed to pay $30,000 in damages to two homosexual women after refusing to host their “wedding” reception at their inn.
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“Our beliefs haven’t changed, but we do have lives to live, a family to love, a business to grow, and a community to serve,” innkeeper Jim O’Reilly said of the case. “Small businesses like ours cannot match the limitless resources of the government and the ACLU.”
Another court in New Mexico recently forced Christian couple Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin to pay over $6,600 in fines after they were found guilty of “discrimination” for refusing to photograph a same-sex “wedding.”
Additionally, Maine, which legalized gay marriage last November, recently informed its 25,000 notaries public that refusal to perform gay marriage ceremonies will result in being charged with “human rights violations.”