Hawaii: Judge rules in favour of lesbian couple turned away by B&B

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The judge in the case of a US lesbian couple who sued a bed and breakfast in Hawaii which denied them a room because of their sexuality, has ruled in favour of the couple.

The Hawaii First Circuit Court judge presiding over the case, ruled on Monday that the business must stop discriminating based on sexual orientation.

Diane Cervelli, 42, and Taeko Bufford, 28, filed the suit in 2011, saying they were turned away from the Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2007.

B&B owner Phyllis Young told the couple she was uncomfortable having a gay people in her house, but added that she also did not allow unmarried straight couples to share rooms.

It is illegal in Hawaii to deny public accommodation to anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation, along with their race, gender identity, religion or disability.

Cervelli said they had been able to find alternative accommodation but added: “In my past experiences in Hawaii, people have been so friendly.

“It was just hurtful. It made me feel we weren’t good enough.”

Young was being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, the group which was in 2011 granted permission to intervene in two cases at the European Court of Human Rights where religious beliefs clashed with non-discrimination laws.

The ADF says its goal is “through strategy, training, funding, and litigation, to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family”.

B&B owner Young reportedly told the Hawaii Human Rights Commission that being gay was “detestable” and “defiles our land”.