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Vacation Rental Home Is “Public Accommodation,” Can’t Discriminate Based on Sexual Orientation

Private Transient Accommodations Treated Same as Hotels

Hawaii appellate court rules against B&B. A final ruling on appeal against the owners of a local bed and breakfast means one clear thing. Sexual orientation cannot be used as a basis for denying customers.

The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court decision. The trial court found that the owners of the B&B can be held liable for discrimination for denying accommodation to a lesbian couple. The defendants had offered a “public accommodation” and in practice denied no one “aside from same-sex couples and smokers.”

The defendants claimed that, as Christians, they were opposed to renting a room in their home to a couple in a same-sex relationship. They claimed a constitutional right to refuse to do so. The court disagreed. The defendants waived any privacy rights when they rented out rooms, usually for less than a week, to more than 100 customers per year.

Cervelli v. Bufford, No. CAAP-13-896 (Feb. 23, 2018)

Hawaii Free Press coverage of the case can be found here.

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