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Lawmaker Wants to Allow Taxpayers to Contribute to Amendment 3 Defense

A Republican state lawmaker from Tooele County is proposing legislation that would help fund the state’s defense of its law banning gay marriage. 

Representative Merrill Nelson’s bill would create a box on the state income tax form and allow state residents to give a portion of their tax refunds to the cause.   Nelson says people on both sides of the issue could benefit from his legislation.

“The bill really has two purposes. One is to provide a way for supporters of traditional marriage to help fund the appeal and the other reason is it’s kind of a peace keeping measure for the proponents of gay marriage so that we’re not using public funds against their wishes to pursue the appeal,” says Nelson.

Democratic State Senator Jim Dabakis was one the more than one thousand gay men and women who got married in the 17 day period when same sex marriage was legal in Utah. 

“So let me get this straight.  I can go on my state tax form, check off a box, and help to destroy my own marriage.  Hmmm… I’ll have to think about that,” says Dabakis.

Dabakis says people should also have the choice to contribute to a fund that favors marriage equality.

“If we’re going to bring this horrendous check off on then let’s put another one on that says and by the way, if you think that gay marriage is fine or if you think marriage equality is fine, let’s have another check off and you can give a buck or two or five that way,” says Dabakis.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped same sex marriage in Utah after Federal District Court Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3. The state is now appealing Shelby’s ruling to the Tenth Circuit Court.  Representative Nelson’s bill has been introduced in the Utah House.  

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