In 2019 Bailey Brazzel sought to file her taxes jointly with her newlywed wife, Samantha. But when the tax preparer learned that Bailey and Samantha were married, she turned the couple away, saying that she would not serve them and later explaining, “I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. … For many years I have had several gay clients. I still have gay clients. A few years ago, I had a couple of gay clients that married. When it was time to prepare their taxes they called me and asked if I had a problem since they were married. I told them that as a Christian that I could not prepare their taxes.”
Bailey and Samantha live in Kokomo, Indiana, where a municipal ordinance protects LGBTQ people from discrimination like this. But the tax preparer was based outside of the city limits, and LGBTQ people aren’t fully protected at the state level in Indiana, nor at the federal level.
“To us, this shows that the patchwork of protections isn’t working,” Bailey said. “The fact that we can drive minutes outside of Kokomo and face legal discrimination for something as ordinary as filing our taxes is unacceptable.” That’s why they’re speaking out: “We’re pretty quiet people, and we keep to ourselves. But there are so many people this happens to, and the word doesn’t get out. So we wanted to send the message that this isn’t OK. If we just let it go, then we would be giving up, and that’s not helpful for anyone.”