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An Indiana tax service turned away a gay couple. Both sides claim discrimination.

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Bailey Brazzel and her wife Samantha weren't trying to make a political statement last week. They were just trying to file their taxes.

But when the owner of a Russiaville tax service refused to help because the same-sex couple was married, Brazzel said she felt she had to make some noise.

"I went in there to have my taxes done, not push my beliefs on her," Brazzel, 25, said. "It's not professional to me to turn someone away because they do something differently than you would like."

Nancy Fivecoate, owner of Carter Tax Service, said she's been harassed and abused after Brazzel spoke to media and posted on Facebook about her experience. Fivecoate said she is the one being persecuted for her beliefs.

"I've never repeated her name to anyone ... I haven't answered social media," Fivecoate told IndyStar during a phone conversation. "I've done absolutely nothing except (follow) my religious beliefs. I can not put my name on that return."

This is the latest skirmish in a culture war ignited by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. There have been controversies involving cake bakers, pizza makers and now a tax preparer who have refused to serve same-sex couples based on the religious beliefs of business owners and employees.

That's allowed under state law, unless a local ordinance says otherwise. 

Brazzel said Fivecoate has prepared her taxes for the last four years. She and Samantha married in July. This is the first year they filed a joint tax return.

On Tuesday they went to Fivecoate's office, when she turned them away.

"My taxes don't have anything to do with our marriage," Brazzel said. "If you are going to run a business, you should be professional enough to do business with people from all types of backgrounds."


Fivecoate said she was polite and respectful to the couple. She gave them the name of another tax preparer who would serve them.

"I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman," Fivecoate said in a statement emailed to IndyStar. She said she has prepared taxes for gay clients, but that she objects to same-sex marriage. 

"The LGBT want respect for their beliefs, which I give them. I did not say anything about their lifestyle. That is their choice. It is not my choice. Where is their respect for my beliefs?"

In most parts of Indiana, including the Russiaville address where Fivecoate's business is located, there is no law that would prohibit a business from turning away a gay couple because of their sexual orientation.


Brazzel said she and her wife went to another tax service and filed their taxes. Even if the law doesn't agree, Brazzel said she and her wife were victims of discrimination

"It was shocking to us," Brazzel said. "We hear about it all the time but nothing like that ever happened to us."

Fivecoate said everyone deserves respect, and she should not be forced to do something that runs counter to her beliefs.

"I have my religious beliefs, she has hers," Fivecoate said. "I respect hers, she should respect mine."

Private parties should be able to consort with whomever they please.  Individuals and business owners should be able to serve, or not serve, anyone they please,  guided by the marketplace and constrained by competition. Customers who object can take their business elsewhere. Usually, although not always, that process leads to fair outcomes.  As it did here.


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I have always said, everyone's money is green.  IMHO - If I don't take it, someone else will.

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1 hour ago, Muda69 said:


"I've done absolutely nothing except (follow) my religious beliefs. I can not put my name on that return."

As an accountant, the only thing that her signature means on the form is that she verifies, to the best of her ability, that the content has been handled accurately and truthfully.  This is nothing but a tax issue ... not a religious issue.  Didn't Jesus already address this a couple thousand years ago when he said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's?"  He didn't say, "Render unto Caesar unless you don't believe in world conquest." 

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