Incidents like this just make me sad.
For four years, Bailey Brazzel says, she had employed the same tax preparer, Nancy Fivecoate of Carter Tax Service in Russiaville, Ind. Fivecoate prepared the taxes without issue each time — until this year, when Brazzel brought her new wife, Samantha.
Fivecoate declined to serve the couple, citing her religious beliefs.
This was the first year the Brazzels, who wed in July, were filing jointly as a married couple. According to Samantha, Fivecoate explained that she believed marriage was between a man and a woman and that she would therefore not be able to prepare their taxes.
In a statement to NBC affiliate WTHR, Fivecoate presented a similar version of events and said that she “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,” she said in the statement. “I was very respectful to them. I told them where I thought she might be able to get her taxes prepared.”
She added: “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?”
The last time I checked, there’s no place anywhere on the basic 1040 form that has anything to do with religious beliefs, “lifestyle,” or the respecting thereof. (I’m sure there are forms that you fill out if you’re a religious organization so you can skip out paying taxes, but that’s for another post.)
What makes me sad is twofold: first, that the Brazzels had to take their business elsewhere through no fault of their own and were told “we don’t serve your kind here.” People shouldn’t have to be forced to choose based on an irrelevancy, and the state of Indiana should be doing more to protect the basic human rights of its citizens than leaving it up to the locals.
The second sad is because this tax preparer is not doing her fellow Christians any favors by being a sniveling bigot. Far be it from me to lecture them on how to behave in public — Quakers are silent on the matter [rimshot] — but proclaiming far and wide that Christians can be assholes even when it comes to accountancy says more about Fivecoates’ lack of compassion and understanding that are supposed to be key elements in that faith.
Or, to put it succinctly, if you want respect from others, respect them first. And then do your job.