Bloomberg Law
March 18, 2019, 3:00 PMUpdated: March 18, 2019, 3:27 PM

B&B Owner Who Refused LGBT Couple Won’t Go to SCOTUS (1)

Patrick L. Gregory
Patrick L. Gregory

A bed & breakfast operator who refused to serve a same-sex couple on religious grounds won’t get to challenge Hawaii’s public-accommodations law at the U.S. Supreme Court after it denied review.

Phyllis Young owns and operates Aloha Bed & Breakfast out of her home in Honolulu, and said Hawaii engaged in a “coordinated campaign” to punish her for her religious beliefs after she refused to serve the couple.

Forcing Young to open her business to same-sex couples under penalty of law violates the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, Young said.

The Hawaii Court of Appeals rejected Young’s free exercise challenge, finding that the public accommodations law was narrowly tailored to achieve the state’s compelling interest in preventing discrimination.

High Court review could have resolved First Amendment questions left open by the high court’s decision in 2018’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colo. Civil Rights Comm’n.

In that case, the court ruled in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who refused a same-sex couple’s request for a wedding cake. It found that state civil rights commissioners’ religious hostility toward him violated the First Amendment.

Young similarly claimed that anti-religious bias tainted her case.

The court hasn’t yet decided whether it will take up another anti-LGBT discrimination case involving an Oregon bakery’s refusal to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The case is Aloha Bed & Breakfast v. Cervelli, U.S., No. 18-451, review denied 3/18/19.

(Adds context about Oregon case in penultimate paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Crawley at; Jessie Kokrda Kamens at