GOP Utah state Rep. Merrill Nelson has introduced a bill to create a check box on the state income tax form for citizens who’d like help pay the legal costs to fight gay marriage.
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.”
Earlier this month Utah hired outside lawyers to plead their case before the Tenth Circuit Court. That legal team has agreed to cap their fees at $300,000.