Proposed Bill Would Let Utah Taxpayers Donate Part of Refund to Fight Gay Marriage

Utah Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, has introduced a bill that would allow taxpayers to check a box and donate part of their income tax refund to fund the state's battle against gay marriage, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

NelsonHis HB48 would create a check-off on forms for a "Marriage Defense Fund." It would also allow direct donations to the fund via cash, check or credit card — and would direct the state to conduct a marketing campaign to help raise money.

"I see it as a way to placate proponents of same-sex marriage who have complained about the cost" to taxpayers for the state’s ongoing appeals to defend Amendment 3, said Nelson, an attorney for Kirton McConkie, whose clients include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I see it as a peacekeeping measure…. I see this as a way to placate both sides."

He added, "I’ve had several individuals and groups tell me they would like to donate to the cause. It’s a way for them to show their support." Besides the tax form check-off, the bill would allow direct contributions to the fund by "cash, credit card or check."

The state of Utah is facing two lawsuits. The first is the appeal before the 10th Circuit of a lower court's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and the second is one brought by the ACLU against the state for putting "on hold" marriages that were performed before the U.S. Supreme Court put a stay on the ruling in the first case.


  1. UFFDA says

    It’s the perfect plan for all the rest of us to contribute to a fund for deconstructing Mormonism.

    Still, that puts a coldness in my chest. People need their beliefs until they leave them behind of their own free will. In the meantime they can leave us alone as well.

    Hell, we’re winning anyway.

  2. JackFknTwist says

    The Courts will interpret this “Marriage Defence Fund” to include Same Sex Marriage Defence Fund.
    Otherwise the State is endowing a religious point of view or doctrine…..contrary to the documents written in 1776.

    “I see it as a way to placate proponents of same sex marriage…..”
    Is this guy an idiot ?
    I’m not ‘placated’, I’m incandescent !
    This is a vicious provocation and will lead to a backlash in which all gays will contribute to defeat this partisan malicious legislation.
    This will be a new Prop. 8 rallying cry.

  3. HadenoughBS says

    Stupid, vile, heinous, bigoted, homophobic move by a Mormon GOPer. What else is new in Utah on this issue?

  4. Randy says

    A government appeal, on tax forms, for citizens to help discriminate against a fundamental right?

    This will work well to back up the 9th Circuit’s decision that discrimination for sexual orientation should be evaluated with heightened scrutiny.

    They just can’t help themselves.

  5. john patrick says

    I think that the government officials who are spending taxpayer money on the appeal, should instead foot the total bill themselves out of their own pockets.

  6. WOLF says

    Donate?! Aren’t we already giving these fools enough by simply funding their paychecks?

    I say, go ahead and make bigger fools of yourselves. It only makes our case stronger.

  7. says

    Check this box on your state government tax forms to publicly finance discrimination sponsored by the LDS Church. How many ways can this be wrong?

    More fodder for heightened scrutiny.

  8. Bill says

    Financially it is about the same as setting up a “defense fund” and contributing to it – the only difference is that bank/credit-card fees are eliminated.

    If there is a box on a tax return, however, people thinking of running for office and who would be expected to make their tax returns public might end up deciding that they have to comply to avoid losing Mormon votes.

    Otherwise, it is almost like “justice for sale”. Should the AG office be dependent on voluntary contributions to do its job?

  9. TampaZeke says

    I’m all for anything that separates a fool from his/her money. Every dime they spend will be wasted because there are NO new arguments and all of the old ones have collapsed under oath and cross examination. Let the bigots throw their money down the rabbit hole. Just point a laugh.

  10. says

    If they REALLY feel the need to insert this issue into tax returns, there should be parity. Two boxes, one for “Donate to support marriage equality for all citizens” and another for “Donate to deny some citizens marriage equality” — worded exactly like that.

  11. Howard B says

    @Randy. I was thinking the same thing! No matter how this check the box kerfufle turns out, it puts us in a stronger position in the long run.