Business owner faces scrutiny over LGBTQ policy

A sign placed on the window of Radcliff business Aries Tax Service informs customers of documents, forms and information the business needs in order to file taxes for clients. The final item on the list states “Homosexual marriage not recognized.” The business has come under scrutiny in recent days after a photo of the sign was posted on social media.

A local tax preparation business has faced scrutiny in recent days because of a policy that excludes services for married same-sex couples.

A sign placed on the window of Aries Tax Service in Radcliff includes a list of documents, forms and information the business needs in order to file taxes for clients. The last item on the list states, “Homosexual marriage not recognized.”

Owner Kenneth Randall, who also operates and serves as a broker for the Insurance Store in the same building, said the sign has been on the window for more than a decade. After a photo of the sign was shared on social media last week, he said he has been harassed through numerous phone calls, emails and messages on social media.

Randall said he recently filed a report with the Radcliff Police Depart­ment after receiving a message threatening violence in response to the sign. One Facebook user also posted the phone number to Randall’s business and wrote “FB friends: You know what to do.”

Although Randall said he has no objection to filing taxes for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community who are single, Randall said he is morally opposed to serving same-sex married couples.

“I find homosexual marriage morally offensive and I want to have nothing to do with it,” he said. “That is a matter of conviction.”

Radcliff and Hardin County governments currently do not have Fairness Ordinances, which outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents, on the books. There are 21 municipalities and counties in the state that have passed Fairness Ordinances, according to Chris Hartman, executive director for the Fairness Campaign, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization.

Hartman said though last year’s Bostock v. Clayton County ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court protects members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment and housing, there are no federal laws or Kentucky state laws that cover public accommodation services unless a business is being supported directly or indirectly from government funds.

“A Fairness Ordinance – like the 21 communities in Kentucky have – explicitly states sexual orientation and gender identity are covered in employment, housing and public accommodations,” he said. “If there were a Fairness Ordinance, this would absolutely be illegal.”

Hartman said Aries Tax Service is the only tax preparation business in the state he is aware of that is willing to openly discriminate against married same-sex couples.

“Ken Randall is in a field of his own right now,” he said. “... It’s disgraceful. It besmirches Radcliff’s image as well. If you’re allowed to do this in a city like that, people aren’t going to want to move there. People aren’t going to want to bring their businesses there. His actions have an effect not just on his business but on the whole community.”

Randall said amid the controversy, he has no intention of removing the sign or changing his policy.

“The people who are crying the loudest about fairness and tolerance aren’t being fair and they aren’t being tolerant,” he said.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1413 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

(2) comments

Linda

Hartman is delusional. Why would someone NOT want to come to Radcliff with businesses that have policies like Mr. Randall has? While I know that the mentally ill need help, I'm also aware that John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer needed help also but I wouldn't want them patronizing my business.

mrwildcat321

Kenneth, hang in there. Gods family will come out on top. Unfortunately that does not include the gay community because of their abomination toward God. My entire family is moving are tax preparation to your business next year. Thanks for standing up for what’s morally right. Can’t wait too meet you and shake your hand. If anyone is going to post an opposing viewpoint, don’t bother. Your sinful opinion will not be read because it has no merit.

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