Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast

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Status: Open
Court:
Intermediate Court of Appeals, State of Hawai`i
Issues: Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections, Religious Exemptions

Case representing a lesbian couple denied accommodation at a Hawai'i commercial business establishment.

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Diane and Taeko worked hard to save money for a trip to visit a close friend and her newborn baby in Hawai'i. When they contacted a commercial business establishment, Aloha Bed & Breakfast, to arrange accommodations, the owner refused to rent them a room, citing her personal discomfort with lesbian and gay couples because of her religious views. During a subsequent HCRC investigation, the owner stated that she believed same-sex relationships are “detestable” and that they “defile our land.” The owner claims that Hawai'i's law prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations does not and cannot constrain the actions of her business. 

Lambda Legal brought this lawsuit to protect and enforce Hawai'i's interest in eradicating discrimination and to uphold the right of all people to access public accommodations free from unfair discrimination. Given the damage to Hawai'i's antidiscrimination law that would follow if businesses could disregard the law based on business owners' personal beliefs, the Hawai'i Civil Rights Commission has also intervened in the lawsuit as a plaintiff.