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“Just Who do We Think We Are?”

Cervelli v. Aloha Bed & Breakfast

Last Updated

What's at stake

The freedom to operate a business according to your deeply held beliefs without the fear of being punished by the government.

The ability to own and operate a business without endorsing a view with which you disagree.

The freedom to determine which overnight guests you allow to stay in your personal residence.

Summary

Using the name “Aloha Bed & Breakfast,” Phyllis rents 1-3 rooms in her personal home – the home that she has shared with her husband for 40 years; the home where they raised their children. Renting these rooms to guests helps pay necessary expenses and provides a primary source of retirement income for Phyllis. The house is not sectioned off—guests share living space with Phyllis’ family and are treated like family during their stay. As a result, Phyllis applies the same rules to guests that she would to any family member or guest staying under her roof. Phyllis’ Christian beliefs do not allow her to promote or facilitate a non-marital sexual relationship or a romantic relationship between two individuals of the same sex.

When Phyllis declined to rent a room to two women in a same-sex relationship, they filed a complaint against Phyllis with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission for sexual-orientation discrimination. Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies came to Phyllis’ defense. They explained to the Commission that because Phyllis 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. And the Constitution also protects Phyllis’ right not to promote behavior her faith teaches is immoral or to associate with people who are unwilling to respect her deeply held religious beliefs.       

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies have defended Phyllis Young and Aloha Bed & Breakfast from legal attacks seeking to force them to violate their faith.