Lesbian Couple Denied Room at Brooklyn Hotel Sue For Discrimination
Turned away for the night because they are a lesbian couple, Loren Parisella and Elizabeth Prestano are suing the Sleep Inn, whose parent company is Choice Hotels International, in Brooklyn for discrimination.
The 20-something Staten Island couple filed their complaint in the in Brooklyn Supreme Court on December 17. They also filed a complaint with the state Division of Human Rights in April. The agency determined that “probably cause existed to believe that Sleep Inn staff engaged in discriminatory practices,” according to the lawsuit, reported DNA Info.
On August 23, 2014 the couple attempted to check into the Sleep Inn located at 247 49th Street in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, but they were told that there weren’t any vacancies.
However, suspicious, since the two women didn’t hide the fact that they were a couple, Loren and Elizabeth called the hotel once they were outside. The hotel clerk on the phone told them that there was one room available at the hotel. They immediately returned to confront the hotel staff for their lie. The staff became openly hostile toward the couple.
“They were a loving couple. They were just there for a room, and they were refused one,” says Paul Liggieri, the couple’s attorney.
In the lawsuit, Loren and Elizabeth claim that the staff “glared” at them with “a look of repugnance and disgust” upon entering the hotel lobby. Once the couple reached the front desk the hotel clerks were visibly reluctant to ask how they could assist them.
When they requested a room for the night the hotel staff began to whisper among each other and grew hostile as they appeared to look up room availability on the computer. Ultimately, the staff told Loren and Elizabeth that they were fully booked for the night.
That was when the couple left the hotel lobby. However, once outside they called the hotel to inquire about a room. A hotel staffer confirmed there was a room available. Loren and Elizabeth returned to confront the front desk staff about their lie. That’s when the staff became openly hostile, according to the lawsuit.
Paul calls the incident a “shame.”
“It’s a shame that in 2015, not only in the United States, but within New York City, that something like this occurred,” Paul says. “In today’s society we expect there to be accommodations for everyone, not just one particular type of person.”
A representative of Sleep Inn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by DNA Info, reports the media outlet.