On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a Christian bed and breakfast owner who was found at a lower court to have violated an anti-discrimination law by turning away a lesbian couple from her establishment.
“Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to lower court ruling that found that the owner of a Hawaii bed and breakfast violated a state anti-discrimination law by turning away a lesbian couple, citing Christian beliefs,” reported NBC Nightly News.
Phyllis Young, owner of Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, Hawaii, refused to rent a room to Diane Cervilli and Taeko Bufford in 2007 due to her Christian beliefs with regard to sexuality. While Young pointed to the First Amendment to evidence her protection in practicing her religion without government prohibition, a state court found the business owner in violation of Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commissions’ public accommodation law.
So-called “public accommodations” include privacy-owner restaurants and hotels and are defined as “places of business, accommodation, refreshment, entertainment, recreation, or transportation facility of any kind whose goods, services, facilities, privileges. advantages, or accommodations are offered, sold, or made available to the general public customers, clients, or visitors.”
The law says that it is "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,” among other factors.
According to a report from Reuters, “Litigation will now continue that will determine what penalty Young might face.”
In June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips was protected under the First Amendment when he refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple due to his Christian beliefs pertaining to sexuality and marriage.
"It was a big win for us and now we're just looking forward to hopefully getting back into the wedding business, and we'll see how the court ruling affects that," said Phillips immediately in the aftermath of winning the six-year legal fight.
"I don't do cakes for Halloween; I wouldn't make cakes that would be Anti-American, or disparage people in anyway, including people who identify as LGBT,” explained Phillips. “If somebody asked me to do a cake like that, then I would tell them no.”
“I told [the couple] when they came in that day, I'll sell you birthday cakes, cookies, brownies, I'll make you custom cakes. I just can't do this cake because of the message it promotes,” he explained.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Kristen Waggoner said of the Supreme Court’s ruling: "It said that the government cannot express religious hostility and that there's no place for that kind of hostility in a pluralistic society.”
Phillips, however, was quickly targeted by an LGBT activist asking for a gender-transition cake in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. Thankfully, the cake decorator prevailed as the Colorado Civil Rights Commission will drop their most recent charges against Phillips “in the wake of newly-discovered evidence of the state’s ongoing hostility toward religious freedom,” announced ADF earlier this month.