U.S. high court rebuffs Hawaii B&B that turned away lesbian couple




  • In US
  • 2019-03-18 15:46:34Z
  • By By Lawrence Hurley
FILE PHOTO: A man rides a bicycle past the Supreme Court in Washington
FILE PHOTO: A man rides a bicycle past the Supreme Court in Washington  

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a new dispute involving gay and religious rights, leaving in place a lower court ruling against a Hawaii bed and breakfast owner who turned away a lesbian couple, citing Christian beliefs.

The justices refused to hear an appeal by Phyllis Young, who runs the three-room Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, of the ruling that she violated a state anti-discrimination law by refusing to rent a room to Diane Cervilli and Taeko Bufford in 2007.

A state court ruled that Young ran afoul of Hawaii's public accommodation law, which among other things bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Litigation will now continue to determine what penalty Young might face.

Young said her decision to turn away the same-sex couple was protected by her right to free exercise of religion under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

The case was appealed to the nine justices in the wake of the high court's narrow 2018 decision siding with a baker from Colorado who refused based on his Christian beliefs to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. That decision did not resolve the question of whether business owners can claim religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.

The justices merely decided that a Colorado state commission did not handle the case against the baker appropriately and sent the dispute back for further proceedings. In October, the commission threw out its case against the baker.

The Supreme Court in that case also did not address important claims including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the First Amendment's free speech guarantee, a question not raised in the Hawaii case.

The conservative-majority court has a separate appeal pending involving a different bakery, in Oregon, that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

In the Hawaii case, Cervilli and Bufford sued in 2011 and were joined in the litigation by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, a state agency. They are no longer a couple.

Young is Catholic and "the only romantic partners allowed to share a bedroom are a married man and woman," her lawyers said in court papers. Young argued among other things that she could not be sanctioned because private homes that rent fewer than four rooms are exempt from Hawaii's housing laws. Young appealed to the Supreme Court after the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled against her in 2018.


(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Brazil
Brazil's president says criminalizing homophobia could 'hurt' gays

Brasília (AFP) - Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday criticized the Supreme Court's decision to criminalize homophobia, saying it could "hurt" gays by deterring companies from hiring them. Bolsonaro, who has a history of homophobic remarks -- he once declared he would rather his son die than be gay -- also said the court was "completely wrong" because it had stepped into legislative territory. The Supreme Court on Thursday voted eight to three in favor of classifying crimes against gay and transgender people as similar to racism, until Congress passes a law specifically addressing such discrimination.

Kansas high court says education funding is adequate
Kansas high court says education funding is adequate

Kansas' highest court declared Friday that the state finally is spending enough money on its public schools under a new education funding law but refused to end a lawsuit filed nearly a decade ago because it wants to monitor future funding by the Legislature. The state Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision signing off on a law enacted in April that will boost the state's education funding by roughly $90 million a year. It was the high court's seventh ruling in less than six years in a lawsuit filed by four local school districts in 2010.

U.S. court rules against Trump administration in immigrant teen abortion case
U.S. court rules against Trump administration in immigrant teen abortion case
  • US
  • 2019-06-14 17:06:57Z

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a lower court decision that found the government cannot unduly burden the ability of a woman to obtain an abortion under established Supreme Court precedent. The case involves the intersection of two divisive social issues on which Republican President Donald Trump has taken a hard line: abortion and immigration.

Brazil Supreme Court criminalizes homophobia
Brazil Supreme Court criminalizes homophobia

Brasília (AFP) - Brazil's Supreme Court voted Thursday to criminalize homophobia, an important step for sexual minorities in one of the most dangerous countries for LGBT people in the world. The Supreme Federal Court (STF), which voted eight to three in favor of the measure, classified homophobia as a crime similar to racism, until Congress -- which is held by a conservative majority and is strongly influenced by evangelical churches -- passes a law specifically addressing such discrimination.

Ginsburg traveled, Gorsuch wrote, Kavanaugh coached, Thomas taught: Supreme Court justices active in 2018
Ginsburg traveled, Gorsuch wrote, Kavanaugh coached, Thomas taught: Supreme Court justices active in 2018

Financial disclosures for Supreme Court justices released Thursday showed who continues to own stocks in companies that may do business at the court.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.