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.