Christian tax firm owner denies service to married lesbian couple, faces backlash
A lesbian couple from Indiana, United States were shocked and dismayed when a tax firm denied to prepare their taxes. The reason for the denial: they were filing it as a married couple.
Bailey Brazzel and wife Samantha tied the knot in Peru last July 2018 and were in the process of filing their taxes jointly for the first time.
Brazzel has been going to Carter Tax Service in Russiaville for the past four years for her taxes, so she was surprised when the firm’s owner rejected them, according to Kokomo Tribune on Feb. 15. Her taxes in the past have been done by Nancy Fivecoate, who also runs the firm.
“At first we thought she was kidding,” Brazzel was quoted as saying. “But when she started talking about the Bible, we knew she was serious — and I was completely shocked.”
Brazzel had been openly gay for a number of years, as per the report, and had never experienced any form of discrimination because of her orientation. This all changed, however, during their encounter with Fivecoate on Feb. 12.
“You hear about it all the time, but nothing like this has happened to us before,” Brazzel further said. “She had done my taxes with no issues before, but now that we were married and she didn’t agree with my life choices, she wouldn’t.”
Fivecoate’s rejection of the couple left them upset and Brazzel in tears. Fivecoate, however, stood by her decision and defended that she declined to prepare the couple’s taxes because of her religious beliefs.
“I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” she said in the report. “I was very respectful to them. I told them where I thought she might be able to get her taxes prepared.”
Fivecoate has had gay clients in the past; she claims she has had no qualms in doing their taxes. She clarified it is only an issue for her when the gay couple is married. She also claims that since her rejection of giving service to the couple, she has been harassed and humiliated in public, as per multiple reports.
William, Brazzel’s father, does not seem to buy Fivecoate’s reasoning and chucked it all down to discrimination. He was with the couple when they went to the tax firm on Feb. 12.
“I told Nancy, ‘that’s flat out discrimination,’” William was quoted as saying. “I just think it’s wrong. I told her we all wake up and put on our pants the same way.”
Fivecoate’s actions would have fallen under discrimination in Kokomo, which would warrant her a fine of up to $2,000 (P103,000), as per the report. However, denying services to gay couples in certain parts in Indiana, such as Russiaville, is not illegal. Cody Cepeda/JB
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