US: Utah politician hopes to allow tax form option to donate money to equal marriage ban
A politician in the US state of Utah has proposed a bill which would offer citizens the option to tick a box on their tax form to donate money towards preventing same-sex couples from marrying.
Republican Representative Merril Nelson of Grantsville proposed the bill which would include an option on tax forms to donate a portion of their income tax refund towards a ‘Marriage Defense Fund’.
The Salt Lake Tribune notes that the form already includes donations for groups such as a homeless trust fund and the Girl Scouts.
Representative Nelson says the suggested option is meant to serve as an alternative for same-sex marriage advocates who have complained that the state is using taxpayers’ money to fight against an equal marriage ruling by a US District Judge last month.
This new measure has also been criticised by supporters of marriage equality.
Between 20 December and 6 January, some 1,300 couples married in the state as a US District Judge ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violated the state’s constitution.
The US Supreme Court since put a stay on equal marriage in the US state, forbidding same-sex couples from being issued with marriage licences in the state during an appeal against a ruling to allow them.
The Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes advised Governor Gary Herbert that marriages between gay couples who married in that short period should not be recognised by the state for benefits purposes.
The Governor also defended his decision to spend over $300,000 of taxpayers’ money towards recruiting out-of-state counsel to help defend Amendment 3.