“We thought it was just a boring trip to the tax office, but it turned into a lot more than that,” Samantha Brazzel told NBC affiliate WTHR.
Brazzel has used the same tax preparer for four years and suddenly when she found out she was married to a woman she refused.
Nancy Fivecoate, owner of Carter Tax Service in Russiaville, Indiana, cited her religious beliefs in justifying her decision.
“I have prepared her taxes for several years,” Fivecoate said of Bailey Brazzel in a statement shared with WTHR. “This year she came in with her wife and I declined to prepare the taxes because of my religious beliefs. I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. I was very respectful to them. I told them where I thought she might be able to get her taxes prepared.”
The Brazzels story has gone viral and Fivecoates is claiming that they are trying to destroy her business.
Said NBC News: “The Brazzels said they are speaking out to draw attention to the lack of LGBTQ protections in Indiana. While several cities across the state have passed ordinances protecting residents from being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, there is no statewide law preventing discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “I don’t need anyone to agree with my lifestyle or things that I do,” Bailey Brazzel said. “But if you’re going to run a business, you should be able to work with all types of people.”
Ironically Brazzel’s home state of Michigan just introduced the “Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act” in Congress, which would scrub the tax code of gendered terms like “husband” and “wife” and instead replace them with neutral words like “spouse”.