Marriage amendment backers to sue Ritchie, Swanson for changing ballot title
Supporters of an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative plan to take Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson to court for what they say was “unlawfully” changing the title of the constitutional amendment that will appear on the November ballot.
A handful of state legislators and members of Minnesota for Marriage, the lead group campaigning in favor of the amendment, said at a Monday news conference that they have filed a petition for relief with the Minnesota Supreme Court against Ritchie and Swanson, both Democrats.
The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case on July 31.
At issue is an announcement from Ritchie last week that he had changed the title of the ballot initiative — approved by the Legislature last spring — from “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman,” to ”Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”
Ritchie said Gov. Mark Dayton‘s symbolic veto of the legislation (constitutional amendments do not need a signature from the governor) also invalidated the title proposed by the GOP-led Legislature. Swanson approved the change about a month ago.
Amendment backers are challenging their authority to do so in court. The group has also suggested that Ritchie may have changed the title of the amendment to favor the anti-amendment campaign, led by Minnesotans United for All Families. Minnesota for Marriage has made a data request seeking all correspondence between Swanson, Ritchie, and Dayton over the last few months to try and prove that claim, according to the Star Tribune.