Despite its ruling last year in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the appeal of a bed-and-breakfast owner who refused to rent a room to a lesbian couple because of her religious convictions.
In 2007, Phyllis Young, who is Catholic, told lesbians Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford that she was uncomfortable reserving a room for them at her Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu and canceled their reservation. Cervelli and Bufford filed complaints with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and sued Young in 2011. A state court then ruled that Young violated Hawaii’s public accomodations law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court rejected Young’s appeal, leading to the reqest for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court’s refusal to hear the case means the lower court’s ruling against Young stands and further litigation will determine what penalties she might face.
“Mrs. Young will rent a bedroom in her home to anyone, including those who are LGBT, but will not rent to any romantic partners other than a husband and wife,” her attorney, James Hochberg, said in a statement. “This kind of governmental coercion should disturb every freedom-loving American no matter where you stand on marriage.” —R.L.A.