The US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a Christian bed and breakfast owner who was ordered by a lower court to serve a lesbian couple despite it being a violation of her religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court rejected the appeal Monday, thus upholding the lower court's ruling in favor of the lesbian couple. Now, litigation will continue to determine what penalty the Christian business owner must face.
Phyllis Young, the owner of Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, Hawaii, refused to rent a room in her home to Diane Cervili and Taeko Bufford in 2007 due to her religious beliefs about marriage. Cervili and Bufford sued Young over her actions and accused her of discriminating against them because of their sexuality.
Alliance Defending Freedom represented Young and argued that because she "only rented 1-3 rooms in her personal home she did not fall under the Hawaii public accommodations law that makes sexual-orientation discrimination unlawful."
The conservative law firm also pointed out that the Constitution protects Young's right to not promote behavior that violates her faith or associate with people unwilling to respect her convictions.
However, a state court found Young in violation of Hawaii's Civil Rights Commissions' public accommodation law. The law applies to hospitality, entertainment, and transportation services. The law makes it "illegal to deny a person access to or to treat them unequally in a place of public accommodation" because of a person's "religion," "sexual orientation," and "gender identity or expression."
The ruling comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision involving Colorado-based Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips. Phillips refused to make a personalized cake for a gay wedding due to his religious beliefs about marriage.
The Supreme Court ruled in his favor and blasted the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for showing hostility towards Phillips' faith. However, the high court did not address the key issue of whether business owners can claim religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.
Colorodo recently dropped a second case the commission had filed against Phillips, targeting him again after an activist tried to force him to celebrate a transgender transition. Phillips had counter-sued the commission which eventually agreed to drop the charges. More about that HERE.