Kim Bowman and Debbie Beach learned the realities of anti-LGBTQ discrimination the hard way in early 2019, when they visited an H&R Block location outside of Houston and attempted to file their taxes. The agent at the business began processing their return but when he seemed to realize that Kim and Debbie were married, he got out of his chair and went to see the office manager, who returned with him and began looking over Debbie and Kim’s paperwork, saying that she would be completing the return. “I could not do it in good conscience,” the original clerk said.
“Why? Because we’re married? Because we’re gay?” the women asked, and the clerk nodded in confirmation. The women left, and later that evening the female manager called and completed their return pro bono. The women wound up posting about the experience on Facebook, which later attracted the attention of local reporters. Speaking out was one of the only things that the couple could really do: In Texas, there aren’t nondiscrimination protections in place to prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination in places of public accommodation.
“The whole incident was very disturbing, demoralizing and demeaning,” Kim said. “I believe that all people should be treated fairly and equally under the law, not just heterosexual individuals or couples.”