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A Christian-owned tax service in Indiana refused service to a lesbian couple

As of this coming Thursday, I will have lived all 35 years of my life in the state of Indiana. That about begins and ends all the positive things I can say about my state. After all, our state’s former governor also happens to be our current vice president, and during his tenure in Indiana, his policies directly resulted in a massive HIV outbreak in southern Indiana and usurped almost all authority from a democratically-elected Superintendent of Education for the state just because she was a democrat.

Oh, and there was also the time that he passed a “religious freedom” law that made it legal to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community because: god. Which god? I’m not sure because they weren’t very specific. My choice would be Bacchus, but that’s just my inner hedonist showing. Either way, the whole ordeal resulted in a grassroots movement in Indiana called “Open for Service“, where businesses could list themselves as allies to the LGBTQ community and display a sticker near their entrance letting people know that Christian bigotry is not allowed.

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But I digress…

I say all that because it’s not surprising at all to me that a Christian-owned tax service in my home state refused service to a couple because they weren’t straight. And it’s even less surprising that it happened in the rather rural town of Russiaville.

I’d like to take this opportunity to point out how nothing in Indiana makes any sense. The locals pronounce “Russiaville” as “roosha-ville.” And that’s not the only stupid pronunciation we have in Indiana. There’s also a Versailles, Indiana (pronounced Ver-sails, of course), and that’s in addition to Peru, Indiana and Brazil, Indiana. We also can’t forget Montezuma, Indiana or Vevay, Indiana (pronounced “vee-vee”). And don’t even get me started about how the city of Lawrence, Indiana is in Marion County (as opposed to being in Lawrence County), while the city of Marion is in Grant County. There’s also the city of Madison, but not in Madison County, because it’s in Jefferson County. But then again, Jeffersonville is not in Jefferson County, because it’s in Clark County.

(Ahem. Sorry for the Andy Rooney-esque rant.)

According to our friend Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist:

For years, Bailey Brazzel went to Carter Tax Service in Indiana because she had a good rapport with the owner, Nancy Fivecoate. This year, however, when Brazzel came in with her wife Samantha — they were filing a joint return for the first time since getting married in July — Fivecoate refused to help with their taxes.

The local paper reported:

“I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Fivecoate. “I was very respectful to them. I told them where I thought she might be able to get her taxes prepared.”

I interpreted this as: “I’m being a bigot, but like, respectfully tho.”

They continued:

Brazzel said she was taken aback by Fivecoate’s refusal.

“At first we thought she was kidding,” she said. “But when she started talking about the Bible, we knew she was serious — and I was completely shocked.”

And then, we saw the mental gymnastics:

”The LGBT want respect for their beliefs, which I give them,” said Fivecoate. “I did not say anything about their lifestyle. That’s their choice. It is not my choice. Where is their respect for my beliefs.”

We call statements like this “not even wrong.” It’s like saying 2 + 2 = purple. It’s submitting a report about 19th Century music in your Calculus class. It’s calling tech support because your computer won’t turn on, when in reality your computer is unplugged. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of reality that happens before any subsequent thoughts occur.

The statement drips with ignorance. “The LGBT want respect.” Well yeah. They probably also want people to stop referring to them as “The LGBT”, too. Of course we don’t know her tone or how she pronounced it, but I imagine it was every bit as awkward, forced, and disingenuous as Trump’s lie about supporting the LGBTQ community.

She says they have the audacity to “want respect for their beliefs.”

It’s strange how nobody ever refers to heterosexuality as being a “belief,” isn’t it?

“I did not say anything about their lifestyle.”

1. I’ve never heard a gay person talk about how a straight person’s “lifestyle” is their “choice.”
2. Even if it was a choice for them (which it is not), you totally provided commentary by refusing service.

And this is the line that killed me:

“Where is their respect for my beliefs?”

Again, we’re in “not even wrong” territory here. If we follow this train of thought to its logical conclusion, she’s saying that any True Christian™ should not offer their company’s services to members of the LGBTQ community. Right?

How else does she see this as playing out? She said she mentioned other tax prep businesses to them, but that’s a very similar situation to pharmacists refusing to provide medication to assist women who are experiencing a miscarriage. If you’re a business that’s open to the public, you should not be able to refuse service to someone based on their skin color, gender, or sexual orientation. It’s just not any of your damn business.

But then again, you have to remember that this is Indiana. And in Indiana, there is no discrimination protection for members of the LGBTQ community.

Steve Sanders, an associate professor of law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, said the lack of statewide LGBT protections has led to a glaring incongruity that leaves discriminated gay couples powerless to do anything to defend themselves.

“The only recourse is good-old fashioned shaming — going on Facebook and telling their friends this is a discriminatory business and people might want to think twice about visiting,” he said.

So, as Friendly Atheist pointed out, you can leave reviews for Carter Tax Service here. The same website also provides contact information for them if you’re so inclined to give them a call. Of course, threats and acts of violence are completely unacceptable, however you can feel free to share your thoughts with Fivecoate. And as Hemant said, if she doesn’t enjoy experiencing the repercussions of her actions, maybe she should just pray about it.

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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