Hawaii Court Votes In Favor of Lesbian Couple Discriminated at a Bed and Breakfast

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Taeko Bufford (left) and Diane Cervelli. Photo courtesy of Lambda Legal.

Hawaii voted in favor of a lesbian couple denied service at a Honolulu bed and breakfast.

Back in 2007, owner of Aloha Bed & Breakfast Phyllis Young denied California couple Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford a single bedroom based on her Catholic beliefs.

However, due to the law set in Hawaii that prohibits discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, the couple was granted the right to sue Young.

“We thought the days when business owners would say, ‘We’re open to the public—but not to you,’ was a thing of the past,” Bufford said in a statement. “You don’t have to change your beliefs, but you do have to follow the law just as everyone else does.”

Despite Young appealing when a lower court voted against her in 2013, the couple was still able to come out victorious last week and defeat Young, as the court upheld their 2013 decision.

Despite the victory Peter Renn, who represented Cervelli and Bufford, said the scars from the 2007 case will always remain.  

“As a really practical matter, the profound harm that the business inflicted here is in the form of stigma and humiliation,” Renn told AP. “There’s no amount of money that can really make you feel whole again after you’ve been stripped of your dignity like this and told we don’t serve your kind here.”

The case still has the opportunity to be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, if Young chooses to repeal.

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