Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast
Case representing a lesbian couple denied accommodation at a Hawai’i commercial business establishment.
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.
- December 19, 2011 Lambda Legal files complaint in the First Circuit Court of Hawai’i, and the Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) moves to intervene as a plaintiff.
- January 10, 2012 Defendant files a motion to dismiss.
- February 21, 2012 The trial court denies Defendant’s motion to dismiss.
- March 5, 2012 Defendant files a motion for leave to take an interlocutory appeal of the denial of the motion to dismiss.
- March 29, 2012 The trial court denies Defendant’s motion for leave to take an interlocutory appeal of the denial of the motion to dismiss.
- February 13, 2013 Plaintiffs and the HCRC file a motion for partial summary judgment on liability and declaratory and injunctive relief.
- February 20, 2013 Defendant files a motion for summary judgment.
- April 15, 2013 Victory! The trial court grants Lambda Legal’s and the HCRC’s motion for partial summary judgment, and denies Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Aloha Bed & Breakfast violated Hawai’i’s public accommodations law and ordering that it stop discriminating against same-sex couples.
- May 13, 2013 Defendant takes an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s ruling to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.
- February 23, 2018 Hawai’i Appeals Court affirms lower court ruling against Aloha Bed and Breakfast.
- July 10, 2018 Hawai’i Supreme Court rejects Defendant’s application to review the case.