Inside the “Troublesome Rise” of Religious Denial of Service Cases Against Homosexual Couples


Amy and Stephanie Mad drove an hour’s drive from their home in Glasgow, Kentucky to Radcliff City on April 3, and met with an accountant at the Aries Tax Office.

According to Mad, her mother-in-law, who lives in the area, recommended the business because she offered a flat rate of $ 55 to file tax returns electronically.

When they get there, they see a door sign listing the 10 things customers should have with them if they want to file their tax returns electronically to their business. I did. But the last item on the list prevented them from opening the door. It says, “Homosexual marriage is not allowed.”

Stephanie Mad said her first feeling was the anger that businesses could separate homosexual couples.

“It’s just like dropping your heart into your stomach,” said Amy Mad.

Aries tax service.

Aries tax service.

The couple took a picture of the sign and left.

“We wanted to pay attention to it, so he knows it’s not okay,” said Amy Mad. “Today you are providing a public service, and it’s a federal tax, and in the United States, it’s okay for us to get married.”

Kenneth Randall, owner of the Aries Tax Service, said the issue was “a matter of personal belief.”

“I tell it to a rational person:’If you have a problem that is a central belief for you, are you willing to support it?’, He said. “I. “

He added that there are other tax authorities in the area available to homosexual couples, which are protected by federal law.

There is no federal law that explicitly allows homosexual couples or other classes of people to be rejected based on personal beliefs, but there is no federal law that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in public institutions such as businesses. There is no Kentucky law. ..

Legal advocates are like Mad, as conservative religious groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have been campaigning and proceeding for years to challenge civil rights law. He states that the situation is rising.

“They want to get a legal decision that they have the right to religious and freedom of speech that violates these laws,” said Lambda Legal, director of law and policy at LGBTQ’s national legal body. Jennifer Paiser said. “In these cases, we saw a significant rise and a very nasty rise, but that’s not a coincidence.”

For years, homosexual couples have been rejected by business owners who do not want to provide wedding-related services because of their religious or moral beliefs. In 2018 The Supreme Court ruled in a narrow sense in support of Jack Phillips, A Christian bakery who refused to make cakes for the wedding of a gay couple. The court ruled on expertise — avoiding the question of whether employers could refuse to serve homosexual couples because of their religious beliefs.

Since then, religious denial of service attacks have continued. 2019, Washington Supreme Court ruled against florists A person who refuses to provide services for a gay couple’s wedding.Last year, President Donald Trump’s The Department of Justice Assisted Kentucky Wedding Photographers He sued the city of Louisville over a non-discrimination ordinance prohibiting refusal to serve homosexual couples. The case is ongoing.

Earlier this month ADF filed a proceeding In a U.S. district court in the western district of New York, state indiscriminate law “unconstitutionally prohibits wedding photographer Emily Carpenter from adopting an editorial policy that is consistent with her belief in marriage.” Insist.

The· Complaints “We are already ready to work with clients, no matter who they are, including clients in the LGBT community,” Carpenter said, but the state “celebrates” same-sex marriage with images on her website. Is overkill by requesting.

The ADF also argues that some of the state law restrictions that certain customers are “unwelcome, unfavorable, or unacceptable, desired, or solicited” impede Carpenter’s freedom of speech. I will. Marriage on her website.

Pfizer said the New York proceedings represent an open legal field, especially as they relate to people working in the arts field, such as photography.

In most cases, courts support indiscriminate law, according to Pfizer, but if they do not, they can make technical decisions or the law violates the freedom of expression of creative experts. I decide that I am. For example, September 2019, Arizona Supreme Court ruling The state’s indiscriminate law violates the freedom of speech of the two artists who create custom wedding invitations by forcing them to promote same-sex marriage.

Pfizer said the use of the right to freedom of speech to justify discrimination “represents a dramatic change from what the law has been for a long time.”

“Why do you think a couple’s wedding video will be the message of someone with a camera?” She said. “If the law is so changed, it’s hard to know where the restrictive principles are. That means that civil rights law has big holes at best and, in the worst case, has little effect. I will. “

The freedom of speech debate can also represent a potential challenge to equality law, a federal bill that protects LGBTQ people in many areas.Countermeasures Passed the House of Representatives In February, but not yet voted in the Senate.

Kentucky is an accountant and not a creative expert, so even with federal or state indiscriminate law in Kentucky, the argument for freedom of speech does not apply, Paiser said.

However, Randall said he refused to impose taxes on homosexual couples because they needed to express their approval for marriage. Randall also sells insurance, selling insurance to gay singles and filing taxes, he said. But if a homosexual couple asked him to sell insurance, he said he would only do it if he could put them single.

“I don’t hate a particular individual. It’s the position of a particular agency that I think is wrong,” he said, harassing and intimidating since the local press published an article about his signature. He added that he was receiving. “If people are willing to accept it, that’s fine. If they aren’t willing to accept it, there are many other places to insure.”

Pfizer said the idea that people could be serviced elsewhere “ignored the central purpose of civil rights law.” She said the sit-in at the lunch counter held by black college students in 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest racism wasn’t whether they could “get a sandwich.”

“It was about whether they were treated like other people,” she said.

In the absence of federal laws such as equality law and state-wide indiscriminate law, Mad and such couples have no legal options and companies can continue to refuse to serve them. I will.

In North Carolina, where there is no state-wide anti-discrimination law that protects LGBTQ people At least two wedding halls Made national news in 4 months Refuse to host an event For same-sex couples.

But the problem extends far beyond weddings.Some states, like Arkansaw, have passed legislation that allows them Healthcare providers who refuse to serve LGBTQ people If it contradicts their religious or moral beliefs.The· The Supreme Court will soon decide the case This could allow federal-funded private religious adoption agencies to reject homosexual couples.

Pfizer said the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people is putting pressure on some religious people to “stop the kind of discrimination they have been doing for a long time.” The pressure made them uncomfortable and made them feel sacrificed, she said, and they are fighting back.

“Being encouraged to treat everyone according to the golden rule is not sacrificed, excluded, or discriminated against,” she said. “When we are active in the public market, being asked to stop discrimination is not discrimination on our own, just as everyone else is expected to play. You are invited to play with the rules. “

Mad said he would not take legal action, if at all, but wanted to make a statement about Randall’s choice to reject homosexual couples.

“I understand that there is freedom in this country, and that’s what we were founded in,” said Amy Mad. “And I think, as a personal practice, he is allowed to do that … but it’s a bad business to serve the general public and deny such a huge population. is.”

Stephanie Mad added: “If we are talking about morality, it is the exact opposite of morality. People often hide behind their religion to justify their hatred, and it is very frustrating.”

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