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  • The lesbian couple said they wanted their case to be an example of resistance for the LGBT community.

    The lesbian couple said they wanted their case to be an example of resistance for the LGBT community. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 May 2016

Two women won a lawsuit for sexual orientation discrimination against the Hawaiian city after they were arrested for public displays of affection.

The city of Honolulu, Hawaii agreed on Friday night to pay a US$80,000 dollar settlement to a lesbian couple that was arrested for kissing in a grocery store last year.

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U.S. citizens Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero visited Hawaii in 2015, and according to their lawsuit, they were harassed and wrongfully arrested by an officer for hugging and kissing inside a Foodland Pupukea store in Oahu’s north shore.  

According to the lawsuit Officer Bobby Harrison was off-duty and shopping in the same store, and after seeing the couple show affection to each other shouted and ordered them to stop it or leave the place.

The officer let them go, but after seeing the couple kiss again, he threatened to throw them out of the store. Wilson finally called 911, but after a scuffle the officer arrested both women.

Wilson and Guerrero were charged with felony assault on an officer and spent three days in jail. The charges were later dismissed, but the women were forced to stay in Hawaii for six months. Officer Harrison retired at the end of last year.

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"I'm glad it's over, but at the same time we wanted the officer to suffer some sort of repercussion," said Wilson.

Honolulu Deputy Corporation Counsel Nicolette Winter said the settlement does not admit any wrongdoing on behalf of the police officer.

The City Council will vote on the final agreement on July 6.

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