Minnesota for Marriage, a pro-constructional marriage amendment group, is suing Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson for "unlawfully changing the title of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment" that will appear on the ballot this year.
Republican sponsors wanted the amendment to be titled, "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman." They were upset when Ritchie changed the ballot question title to "Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples."
Minnesota for Marriage says Ritchie overstepped his authority in changing the title, but Ritchie's office has already pointed to a law that allows the secretary of state to create ballot wording.
Neither Ritchie nor Swanson commented on the lawsuit on Monday.
"What it comes down to is: When they changed the title, it lets everybody know that the only way to control the definition of marriage is to put it in the Constitution, where politicians like Ritchie and special interests can't meddle with it," said Chuck Darrell.
On the flip side, opponents of the referendum at Minnesota United for All Families say the new title is "accurate."
"Shifts in language can affect how people think about things," acknowledged Hamline University Professor David Schultz. "Titles mean a lot because that may be the only thing that people read when they get into the ballot box."
The ballot question will read: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"
The Minnesota Supreme Court will decide the wording issue in a month or so.