The Latest: Retirement home says it doesn’t discriminate

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on the ACLU’s challenge to a Hawaii retirement home’s ban on medically assisted suicide (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

A Hawaii retirement home says it’s consulting its legal counsel after the American Civil Liberties Union demanded it stop discriminating against non-Catholic residents and allow them to take advantage of the state’s new medically assisted suicide law if they wish.

Kahala Nui Executive Director Wendy Wong said in a statement Thursday the home doesn’t discriminate and has never denied residency on the basis of religion, race, sex, color or other basis.

The Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii says the church leases the land under the home to Kahala Nui Senior Living Community, Inc.

The church says the issue is between Kahala Nui and its residents. It says its ground lease prohibits Kahala Nui from promoting assisted suicide, but specifies the restriction doesn’t refer to acts of individual residents.

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1:40 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding that a Hawaii retirement home stop discriminating against non-Catholic residents and allow them to take advantage of the state’s new medically assisted suicide law if they wish.

The ACLU of Hawaii sent a letter to the executive director of the Kahala Nui home on Thursday after receiving an anonymous tip that the home had notified residents they would not be permitted to exercise the provisions of the law.

The retirement home told residents in a memo this was because the facility’s lease for land under its buildings prohibits activity that is “morally repugnant” to the Roman Catholic Church, including euthanasia.

The church owns the land.

Kahala Nui’s executive director didn’t immediately respond to voicemail and email messages seeking comment.

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