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Lesbian couple files discrimination suit against Hawaii Kai lodging

By Sarah Zoellick

LAST UPDATED: 01:45 p.m. HST, Dec 19, 2011

Two women sued a Hawaii bed and breakfast lodging today for allegedly refusing to rent them a room because they are a lesbian couple.

Los Angeles residents Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford said that in November 2007 they contacted Aloha Bed & Breakfast by phone about making a reservation. The plaintiffs said business owner Phyllis Young asked if they are lesbians, and Cervelli said they are. Young said she would not rent them a room because she is uncomfortable with lesbians, the plaintiffs said.

Young today declined comment and referred the Star-Advertiser to her lawyer.

Cervelli and Bufford filed a complaint with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. The commission determined in March 2010 that there was reasonable cause to believe unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation had occurred. Cervelli and Bufford received official notice of their right to sue last month.

Hawaii's public accommodation law makes it illegal for any commercial business that sells or makes goods, services or accommodations available to the public to deny people access to those goods or services based on their race, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, skin color, religion, ancestry or disability.

Lambda Legal, a firm dedicated to defending the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the couple.

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Papakolea wrote:
A bed & breakfast in Hawaii Kai? Wouldn't it be a kick if it turned out to be illegal and the tax office came after the owners for back taxes?
on December 19,2011 | 12:55PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Well, they've already shown they will break the law about denying accomodation, why not tax law? Baci is a good thing.
on December 19,2011 | 01:06PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
Yeah Lambda Legal! Shame on Phyllis Young!
on December 19,2011 | 01:06PM
Anonymous wrote:
I donʻt agree with her, but at least she told the truth.
on December 19,2011 | 01:16PM
billso wrote:
Take a look at the Aloha Bed & Breakfast web site and decide for yourself if this is a licensed B&B. http://home.roadrunner.com/~alohaphyllis/ According to this site, Phyllis holds a Bible study at the house on Thursday nights. http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/hawaii-honolulu-aloha-bed-breakfast.html
on December 19,2011 | 01:18PM
Changalang wrote:
Lambda should seriously explore if this business being run in a residential community has been as forthcoming on their taxes as they should've been, of if civil fraud was committed against the gov't. Many of these operations are run without license and without proper income disclosure to the I.R.S. If that is done purposefully, then the people have found yet another of the 1% not paying their fair share in taxes. It could be that this operation is one of the few legal ones, but there are proportionally many more that are illegally run businesses.
on December 19,2011 | 01:41PM
mcc wrote:
According to the Washington Post, "Aloha Bed & Breakfast is not on a list of properties approved for transient vacation unit or bed and breakfast use that have been issued nonconforming use certificates by Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting.". I bet Phyllis Young's neighbors love having a B&B next door to them.
on December 19,2011 | 04:36PM
butinski wrote:
According to the Young's B&B website, they are originally from Boston, she being a realtor. What would happen if, for instance, an African-American family showed up? Or would they have been "filtered" before their arrival?
on December 19,2011 | 10:19PM
High_Society wrote:
Without a doubt, a really solid case. Only took them 3 years to find an attorney to help them file the lawsuit. :-( I predict that it will be dismissed via summary judgment.
on December 20,2011 | 12:28AM
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