Our Business Attacked - What Happened?
If you just want to get your taxes done or political commentaries somehow offend you, hit the
"back" button now. Otherwise, here is what actually occurred and the reasons why.
This is America, right? Free Speech should never be suppressed
In early July, I received the following phone call (click HERE to listen to it, unedited) and the following review on Yelp! (also unedited, although the review was removed a short time after it was posted):
"Myself and two other families we know who recently approached Stacy about tax filings for same-sex and domestic partnership. In our experience, this tax service is not very open to helping diverse families at all. We later came to learn that Stacy is an outspoken advocate against marriage equality and will treat any such families who approach the SSTAR tax business with dismissal and roundabout refusal for service. I believe that this is illegal since gay marriage is legal in California and in the rest of the U.S.A. This business needs to redirect the laws governing the country they practice in"
I was dumbfounded - I have never refused service to anyone. And she claims she wanted to "educate" me? Let's see...I did 60 hours of classroom time to get my tax license, and then 40 hours of continuing education every year (twice the required amount) and therefore I have over 900 hours of tax education....and she somehow knows more about taxes than I do? A quick check on yellowpages.com reveals at least 30 tax preparers within a 3 mile radius of my location. So why target just my business and no others? And why would this phone call and negative review suddenly happen in JULY, well after tax season?
Nothing made sense...initially. With some careful deduction and follow-up research, I found the answers I was looking for.
In late June 2015, our local newspaper (the Castro Valley Forum) called me and asked me to comment on the recent Supreme Court decision regarding marriage. They knew me to be a supporter of traditional marriage and solicited my opinion for an article they were writing. I responded to their request. The quote appeared in early July. I think it was a total of two sentences. The First Amendment guarantees everyone in this country the right to free speech. No big deal, right?
WRONG! That's when "Jenna" (still don't know who she actually is) posted the most negative review allowed on Yelp! and called me with her commentary. Her review had nothing to do with services rendered (or not rendered) - she read about my beliefs in the local paper and decided to punish me for declaring them publicly. It turns out her "denial of service" claim was based solely on a out-of-area phone call (sometime in February, I believe) which I did not return. February and March are my busiest months and I vaguely remember a message about someone claiming to be a "relocation specialist" wanting to refer new clients to me. All of my referrals come from my current customers. I do NOT specialize in "relocation" and I was already super-busy so I simply never returned the call. And THAT was the entire basis for her "discrimination" claim.
Yelp! is very serious about leaving negative reviews up, otherwise business owners would simply complain, get them removed, and leave only the positive ones. I had to prove to Yelp! that the negative review was posted simply for political purposes, was completely false, and that these person(s) were never actual clients of mine. They agreed 100% with the evidence I presented and took the review down.
Keep in mind I have zero issues with gay persons. A few years back, my entire staff was gay. They were the most qualified applicants that year and they did a great job and I re-hired them the following year. I never ask clients about their sexual orientation - why should it matter? I have no bias or prejudices against such individuals whatsoever.
Incidents like this reveal how intolerant those who preach "tolerance" really are. All of us, at some time or another, have probably faced some form of "discrimination". The difference between a reasonable response and the response of an LGBT activist is clearly illustrated in the following accounts. I will relate my own experience.
I was riding my bicycle home late at night (after 10:00 pm) and went to a fast-food drive-thru (the main lobby was closed). The restaurant refused to serve me because I was on a bicycle. Yes, every federal and state law says that a bicycle is a vehicle with the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. Yes, they were wrong. Yes, I was refused service simply because I was on a bicycle. So, what to do?
And here is where a reasonable response differs from that of a modern-day LGBT activist. I simply went to another restaurant, gave my money to them, got the service I wanted, and went on with my life. I did not go back and try to put the other guy out of business and ruin them. When gay marriage activists Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman were denied a cake for their gay wedding in Oregon by Melissa and Aaron Klein, they didn't simply go to another bakery (easily done). They took them to court for years and obtained a six-figure judgment - which if allowed to stand will ruin their lives and render them and their children homeless. Melissa would sell any cake in her store to anyone but she could not CREATE one for a wedding that clearly violated her religious convictions. She has no problem respecting the beliefs of others and allowing them to do whatever they want, but the LGBT activists want to compel her to participate in activities that are clearly outside her beliefs concerning marriage.
To justify such a large award, the plaintiffs alleged a long list of alleged physical, emotional and mental damages they claim to have experienced as a result of Melissa's refusal to bake them a cake. Their claims included “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “feeling mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock,” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”
Yeah. That's exactly how I felt when Jack in the Box refused to make me a hamburger. Not! Until I read this laundry list, I had no idea - based on their own testimony about themselves - that same-sex couples were so emotionally fragile compared to heterosexual couples. So much for equality.
In North Carolina, SB2 allows county clerks with sincere religious objections to recuse themselves from conducting same-sex marriages. This provides reasonable accommodation for those with religious objections and injures NO ONE because the law guarantees that clerks will be available to perform such ceremonies. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 actually requires all employers (public and private) to make "reasonable accommodation" for those who do not want to shed their religious beliefs when they enter the workplace. You would think such a statute would be seen as a "win-win" - everybody is provided the services they desire and no one is forced to violate their conscience.
But it's not good enough for Equality North Carolina, an LGBT advocacy group who is suing to overturn the statute providing the accommodation. They are demanding that ALL clerks be required to conduct ALL such ceremonies, even though NO ONE requesting a marriage ceremony has ever been turned away. That is the hallmark of today's LGBT activists - if anyone holds a different opinion than the one they hold, and that opinion becomes public knowledge, they are to be rendered unemployed and homeless as soon as possible. From the little guys (like me) to the big fish (like Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby), holding a social or political viewpoint which contradicts their own is not merely a difference of opinion or a matter of free speech. It is grounds for economic assassination.
So now we know the true definition of "tolerance" as practiced by such persons. As repeatedly demonstrated by their actions, LGBT activists are a vindictive, vengeful lot. It is not enough that they have won their Supreme Court victory. They now spend their energy persecuting anyone who believes differently than they do, even when they suffer absolutely no harm whatsoever and the services they seek are available literally at the next counter. Opposing opinions and viewpoints will NOT be tolerated. I am a survivor of a recent attack. I survived because I am well organized and was able to document everything that actually occurred. Others are not so fortunate.
Billy Bradford is one of the most outspoken gay activist in this town. He and I have publicly debated the marriage issue several times. I also count him as my friend. He is a FANTASTIC human being who does a significant amount of charity work in our community giving free bikes and bike maintenance to kids. We volunteer together at cycling events. I respect him as a person and we would never try to harm one another in any way. We STRONGLY disagree on the marriage issue - but hate has nothing to do with his beliefs or mine. Two reasonable, intelligent people can look at the same facts and legitimately come to different conclusions. We're mature enough to know that.
However, many LGBT activists are not that mature and cannot respect any opinion or belief which differs from their own. Revenge is the order of the day for them, and if they can find a court system that will give them the opportunity to ruin those who think differently, so be it. If they have no basis to go to court they can always post a false review of a business on social media in an attempt to drive away customers. It's how they work. I have seen it first-hand. Sadly, they seem to have great success using these methods.
Our nation and our society will be well served if we (1) avoid copying such behaviors, (2) avoid supporting the agendas of such persons who survive by destroying the livelihood of others, and (3) recognize that "tolerance" is a two-way street, not a one-way highway for the LGBT agenda to drive their steamroller down and flatten everyone not going in their direction.