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US High Court Rejects Appeal of Hawaii Anti-Bias Ruling

FILE - Taeko Bufford, left, and Diane Cervelli are pictured near Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Dec. 19, 2011. A Hawaii court ruling that a bed and breakfast discriminated against the couple brcause they're gay will stand; the state and U.S. high courts both declined to hear appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to a Hawaii court ruling against a woman who had turned away a lesbian couple from staying at her Honolulu bed and breakfast.

A Hawaii court ruled against Aloha Bed and Breakfast owner Phyllis Young, saying she'd violated the civil rights of an unmarried lesbian couple when she refused to rent them a room because it went against her Christian beliefs.

Young's attorney, James Hochberg, criticized the Supreme Court's refusal to hear her appeal Monday.

"The government went after Ms. Young's constitutionally protected freedom simply for adhering to her faith on her own property," he said. "This kind of governmental coercion should disturb every freedom-loving American, no matter where you stand on marriage."

Attorney Peter Renn of the gay rights group Lambda Legal said Monday, "The freedom of religion does not give businesses a right to violate nondiscrimination laws. 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."