Minnesota For Marriage Files Lawsuit Against Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson For Changing the Title of the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment That Will Appear on the November Ballot
Actions of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson are unlawful and exceed their constitutional authority
Minneapolis, MN – Today, Minnesota for Marriage announced it had petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to seek relief under Minnesota Statues § 204B.44 (errors and omissions) against Secretary of State (SOS) Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson for unlawfully changing the title of the Marriage Protection Amendment that will appear on the November ballot.
In a release last week, SOS Ritchie announced his intent to “substitute” the original title of the amendment from “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman,” to ”Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.” Ritchie cited Gov. Dayton’s “symbolic” veto of the legislation as having “invalidated the title designated by the legislature.” Attorney General, Lori Swanson approved the change.
“The actions of SOS Mark Ritchie and Attorney General Lori Swanson are unlawful and exceed their constitutional authority,” said Sen. Warren Limmer, the bill’s chief author. “The Governor’s veto was purely ceremonial and has no legal binding on the title of the amendment. SOS Ritchie is using the veto as a trumped up excuse to thwart the will of the legislature. It is a sad day in Minnesota when the Secretary of State and the Attorney General disregard the will of the legislature and use deceptive language.”
“This case is about the rights of the people and the legislature to function in a representative democracy without the interference of the executive branch of government,” said Rep. Steve Gottwalt. “It is also about preserving the constitutional integrity of the amendment process. The Minnesota Constitution grants the power to amend the constitution to the Legislature and the people. Here, the Secretary of State is attempting to interfere by disregarding the given ballot title and replacing it with a misleading and incorrect proposed title.”
“Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s and Attorney General Lori Swanson’s meddling with the title of the Marriage Protection Amendment is a perfect example of why we need the marriage amendment,” said John Helmberger, Chairman of Minnesota for Marriage and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Some politicians are so blinded by ideology and beholden to special interests, like gay marriage activists, that we simply can’t be confident they will follow the law or respect the will of the people. The only way to protect the definition of marriage is to secure it in the constitution where activist judges, ambitious politicians and special interests can’t meddle with it.”