SCOTUS Says ‘No’ To Anti-LGBTQ Bed & Breakfast

The U.S. Supreme Court declined the hear the appeal of a bed & breakfast owner in Hawaii who refused to host a same-sex couple due to her religious objections over homosexuality.

The initial lawsuit, Aloha Bed & Breakfast v. Dianne Cervelli, stems back to an incident in 2007 when Cervelli contacted the B&B owner, Phyllis Young, about accommodations.

Cervelli indicated there would be two guests as she would be traveling with her same-sex partner, Taeko Bufford.

According to the complaint, Young asked “Are you both lesbians?” Young then refused to board the couple saying she was uncomfortable having lesbians in her home.

The couple filed complaints with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission which found Young had illegally discriminated against the couple. Hawaii’s public accommodation law clearly bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Associated Pressreportedthat Young told the commission she is Catholic and feels that homosexuality is wrong. She felt her decision to deny accommodations to the couple was protected by her right to free exercise of her religious beliefs under the First Amendment.

Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of the couple in 2011, along with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission as co-plaintiffs. 

In April of 2013, the Hawaii First Circuit Court ruled in favorof Cervelli.

Young appealed the ruling, and in February 2018, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision.

The B&B owner tried to take her case to the Hawaii state Supreme Court, but the high court refusedthe hear the appeal last year.

In October, Young filed a petition to have her appeal heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.

As SCOTUS has declined to take up the case, Young has exhausted her legal options and the ruling by the lower court will stand.

Peter Renn, counsel for Lambda Legal’s Western Regional Office, celebrated the news.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to let the lower court ruling stand reaffirms that the freedom of religion does not give businesses a right to violate nondiscrimination laws that protect all individuals from harm, whether on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation,” said Renn in a statement to the Washington Blade. “The Supreme Court declined to consider carving out an exception from this basic principle when a business discriminates based on the sexual orientation of its customers.”

“LGBT people deserve an equal right to go about their everyday life without the fear that discrimination waits for them around the corner,” he added.

Hawaiian Singer’s National Anthem Goes Viral

Willie K sings the national anthem at Aloha Stadium

Over the weekend, Hawaiian singer and musician Willie K was tapped to sing the national anthem at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

Keeping the lyrics by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Willie K made the song his own, and went viral in doing so.

According to folks on Twitter, Willie is considered a state treasure and currently battling lung cancer.

Watch below.

As always, folks had their opinions about the performance.

This first tweet is from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

Podcast: Emmy Nominations, Harry Styles, ‘Gay Panic’ Defense & More

The Randy Report podcast is the perfect way to keep up with LGBT politics, pop culture and entertainment news on the go

In this week’s podcast:

• The Trump administration is raiding HIV/AIDS programs to pay for further family separations at the U.S. border

• Hawaii’s Supreme Court declines to review a bigot’s appeal after being found guilty is LGBTQ discrimination

• UK pop star Harry Styles admits, “There a little bit of gay in all of us”

• This year’s Emmy Awards nominations had a lot of love for the gays

• ‘Queer Eye’ and ‘Pose’ both get renewed for additional seasons

• Out indie artist Parker Matthews is “Feelin’ Right”

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Hawaii: State Supreme Court Refuses To Review Ruling Against Anti-LGBTQ B&B Owner

A B&B owner who refuses to rent a room to a lesbian couple asked the Hawaii state Supreme Court to review the ruling against her. The court said 'no' leaving the lower courts decision in place.

In 2007, Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford of Long Beach, California, traveled to the Aloha state to visit a friend who had just given birth.

The child apparently was having some health issues at the time, so the couple decided to seek accommodations nearby. The closest option was The Aloha Bed & Breakfast.

But when the couple called Phyllis Young, owner of The Aloha B&B in Honolulu’s Hawaii Kai area, Young told the couple same-sex relationships are “detestable” and “defile our land.”

Hawaii’s public accommodation law specifically bans establishments that provide lodging to transient guests from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, race, color, ancestry, religion, disability and sex —including gender identity or expression.

Later that year, Cervilli and Bufford filed a complaint with Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commission.

Although Young asserted she had the right to discriminate since her business was in her home, the commission determined Young had openly discriminated against the couple.

Cervilli and Bufford consequently filed a lawsuit against Young in 2011.

In 2013, a Hawaii First Circuit Court judge ruled that Young had violated the state’s public accommodation laws and ordered her to stop discriminating.

Young appealed the decision and in February of this year, the Intermediate Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling.

In a last ditch effort, the B&B owner asked the state’s Supreme Court to review the case. The high court declined to do so today, and effectively affirming the lower court ruling that Young had discriminated.

Earlier this year, Bufford told QVoiceNews, “I can’t tell you how much it hurt to be essentially told, ‘we don’t do business with your kind.’ It still stings to this day.”

“We thought the days when business owners would say ‘We’re open to the public – but not to you’ was a thing of the past,” she added. “You don’t have to change your beliefs,” she said, “but you do have to follow the law just as everyone else does.”

Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn hailed the decision saying in a statement:

“In letting the existing decision stand, Hawai‘i today joined a long line of states across the country that understand how pernicious and damaging a religious license to discriminate would be.”

“In fact, since the U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop in early June, three state courts – in Arizona, Oregon and now Hawai`i – have either ruled against or refused to review rulings against business owners who have claimed religious justifications to discriminate.”

Hawaii’s Governor Signs”Ex-Gay” Therapy Ban Into Law

Hawaii News Now reports the good news that the Aloha state is now the 12th in the country to legally ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.

Hawaii is now the 12th state in the country with a law that prohibits therapists from offering so-called “conversion therapy” to minors. Conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, is universally rejected by national organizations that guide accepted practices for licensed psychological professionals and is considered a pseudoscience.

But it remains pervasive in some corners. The new law, signed by the governor Friday, applies to psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Act 13 also establishes a temporary sexual orientation task force in the state Health Department to address concerns from minors who see counseling on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The law goes into effect July 1.

“Today I signed SB 270, which prohibits therapists from offering ’sexual orientation change efforts’ or ’conversion therapy’ to patients under the age of 18,” Ige wrote on Facebook.

“Overwhelming scientific research has shown that ’conversion therapy’ is not effective and frequently has lasting, harmful psychological impacts on minors,” Ige continued. “This practice is neither medically nor ethically appropriate.”

“I’m proud to join the 11 other states who have banned conversion therapy and send a strong message to our LGBT youth: that sexual orientation is not an illness to be ’cured’—we accept you just the way you are. #BornPerfect.”

The practice of “conversion therapy” on minors has also been banned in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and about three dozen cities and counties.

News Round-Up: May 25, 2018

Hot, handsome, woofy guy
(image via kenneth-in-the-212)

Some news items you might have missed:

• I don’t know who this guy is, but Kenneth-in-the-212 found him and I just had to look at him some more… 😉

• Even with the recent announcement that the NFL will fine players who take a knee during the national anthem, New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson says he’ll pay any fine levied against his players.

• Out country artist Ty Herndon talks about the upcoming Concert for Love & Acceptance.

• LGBTQ people are leaving hostile countries in Asia for the more accepting lands of New Zealand.

• George Takei says he bears no ill will towards his accuser who has now walked back his accusation that Takei sexually assaulted him almost 40 years ago.

• Here’s the setup: On the UK series Celebrity Juice, TV personality Mark Wright and comedian Joel Dommett complete an obstacle course while passing a banana between their mouths because…?

Who cares?

Hawaii Bans Harmful “Ex-Gay” Therapy

Lawmakers in Hawaii approved a bill on Friday that bans the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBT minors.

“This has been a priority of the caucus for years,” said Michael Golojuch, chair of the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, told Hawaii News Now. “(The measure) ensures that LGQTB youth will not be tortured by mental health professionals.”

Governor David Ige is expected to sign the bill into lawl

Hawaii joins similar bans in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and several local municipalities.

News Round-Up: April 10, 2018

WWE star Fin Balor

Some news items you might have missed:

• WWE wrestler and LGBT ally Fin Balor is totally on my InstaHunk radar now, and it’s easy to why 😉

• Add Hawaii to the list of state’s moving to outlaw so-called “ex-gay therapy.” SB-270 has been approved by both the state Senate and House. Due to amendments made in the House, the bill goes to conference before heading to the governor’s desk for his signature.

• Following the success of teen coming-out romantic comedy Love, Simon, Netflix has announced a new gay high school rom-com titled “Alex Strangelove” from producer Ben Stiller set to debut June 8.

• Five years ago, Michael Johnson was accused of “recklessly” exposing multiple partners with HIV while he was a college student and sentenced to 30 years in prison by a jury stacked with white, HIV-negative heterosexuals, most of whom said they thought being gay was “a sin.” His parole has been granted but he won’t be released for another 18 months.

•  Remember Republicans hammering Hillary Clinton for giving speeches to Goldman Sachs after she left the State Department? Well, it turns out Donald Trump received $150K for an appearance via Skype to a Ukrainian billionaire while running for the Republican presidential nomination. #WTF?

• In celebration of their debut album, Treehouse, out this Friday, duo Sofi Tukker releases the new video for single “Batshit,” featuring Tucker’s debut as the lead vocalist.

“We are introducing him as exactly what he is: Batshit Crazy. It’s as ridiculous and colorful as he is. And we love it,” says the duo.

That pretty much sums up the wild desert electro-pop romp that is “Batshit.” Check it out below 🙂

Hawaii Appeals Court Rules Against B&B For Turning Away “Detestable” Lesbian Couple

Good news from the Aloha State!

Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling on Friday that found the owner of Aloha Bed & Breakfast discriminated against California couple Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford when the owner refused to rent them a room based on their sexual orientation.

Hawaii has a very clear public accommodation law which requires equal access to facilities and services regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

So, it probably didn’t help business owner Phyllis Young when she admitted the turned the women away because, in her view, homosexual relationships were “detestable” and “defiled the land.”

Way to lose a court case, Phyllis.

LGBT legal eagles Lambda Legal represented the couple in the lawsuit.

“This has never been a case about the money,” said Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal. “It’s really been about a civil rights law that needs to protect everyone, it needs to be real and it needs to be followed. When people come for a vacation or other reasons to visit in Hawaii, everyone should be treated equally.”