Minnesota sued for changing title on marriage measure

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Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

Opponents of same-sex marriage are suing the Minnesota Secretary of State for changing the title on their ballot question proposing a constitutional amendment.

The amendment would define marriage in the state constitution as the union of a man and a woman, cementing the state’s already existing law banning gays and lesbians from marrying.

Voters in the November general election will decide the question, which is going on the ballot with different wording than proposed by the right-wing Minnesota for Marriage and Republican lawmakers.

Minnesota for Marriage and lawyers for Republican lawmakers have now filed a legal brief with the state supreme court arguing that it was wrong for Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to substitute a title for the question. They say the new title – “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples” – is misleading and could sway votes.

“Even small changes in the wording of ballot measures and titles can have a dramatic effect on the election results,” read the brief, which objects to the use of “limiting.”

Minnesota for Marriage wants the title to read “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.”

Ritchie also re-titled the proposed amendment requiring voter photo ID, which also has triggered a legal dispute.

State Sen. Mike Parry, R, has called a committee hearing today – July 20 – to look into the changing of the titles.

“In light of recent developments, the committee expects Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and State Attorney General Lori Swanson to explain their involvement surrounding the constitutional amendment questions on the November ballot," he said in a press release.

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