Voter ID challenge, wording of amendment titles rejected - KMSP-TV

Voter ID challenge, wording of amendment titles rejected

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected ballot titles written by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for this November's photo ID amendment and an amendment to define marriage in the state as between one man and one woman.

The Supreme Curt also rejected a lawsuit challenging the voter identification amendment that would require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.

Minnesota for Marriage, a pro-constitutional marriage amendment group, filed a lawsuit against Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson for "unlawfully changing the title of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment" that will appear on the ballot.

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 said Ritchie overstepped his authority in changing the title, but Ritchie's office pointed to a law that allows the Secretary of State to create ballot wording.

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?"

Ritchie has been waiting for months to hear a decision from the state's highest court. In fact, he even set Monday as a deadline so he would have enough time to get ballots printed for the general election.

Though Ritchie didn't get the answer he was looking for, voters on both sides of the marriage amendment say the title ultimately won't matter much -- and it certainly won't stop activists at the Minnesota State Fair from getting their message out.

"It really doesn't change anything we're doing," said Jake Loesch, of Minnesotans United for All Families. "Regardless of what it is, we know that the question stays the same."

Conservatives rejoiced at the ruling, saying it put Ritchie in his place; however, opponents of the amendment say they are not deterred. In fact, the "Vote No" booth at the fair has been overwhelmed by the demand for buttons, fans and shirts.

Still, the debate is alive and kicking just a little way down the road at the booth for Minnesota for Marriage.

"We are trying to preserve the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman," said Autumn Leva.

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