RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. (CBS Local) — A married couple in Indiana says a local tax filing service refused to prepare their returns because they’re a same-sex couple.
Bailey and Samantha Brazzel said they went to Carter Tax Service to file a joint return. Bailey had used the service before as an individual and was happy with the work they did. But when she tried to file jointly with her new wife, Carter Tax Service denied them service, CBS affiliate WTTV reported.
John and Nancy Fivecoate, the owners of Carter Tax Service, said they’re just exercising their religious freedom.
“I declined to prepare her taxes because of my religious beliefs,” Nancy Fivecoate said in a statement. “I am a Christian, and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”
It is illegal for businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples in parts of Indiana, like nearby Kokomo, but not in Russiaville.
Indiana law states that denying service to a gay couple is legal “unless the local county or city has passed a human rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination on these grounds,” said Robert Katz, a professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
The Fivecoates said they’ve received countless calls from people attacking them for their beliefs since news broke about the incident. John Fivecoate
said they’re beginning to get concerned for the well-being of their family.
The Brazzels said they only wanted to shed light on the fact that there aren’t any laws protecting the LGBT community from discrimination.
“Marriage equality has been the law of the land since 2015, and yet businesses can deny services because of our marriage,” said in a statement. “That isn’t right.”