Minn. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Original Ballot Language for Marriage Amendment

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the original language of a ballot initiative that would amend the state's constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Hailed as a victory by the pro-amendment Minnesotans for Marriage, the court ruled in a four to two vote on Monday that Minn. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie "erred and exceeded his authority" when retitling the ballot question.

Ritchie had attempted to change the title of the ballot question from its original "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman" to "Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples."

"The Secretary of State exceeded his authority ... when he provided titles different from those passed by the Legislature," reads the court's majority opinion.

John Helmberger, chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, said in a statement that pro-amendment advocates were "thrilled" with the court's decision.

"Secretary's actions were clearly politically motivated and designed to skew the outcome of the election against passage of the Marriage Amendment," said Helmberger.

"The issue before the people of Minnesota is whether we should preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman, just as voters in 32 others states have done. The ballot title that the Legislature crafted, along with the wording of the question itself, make it clear to voters what the issue is all about."

The Minn. Supreme Court handed a similar four to two decision on another ballot initiative in the state that was brought to court. According to the Star Tribune, the League of Women Voters along with other organizations filed a petition to get an amendment requiring photo IDs to vote off of the ballot, declaring the amendment's language to be too unfair. The court ruled against the petition and so the photo ID amendment will remain on the ballot with the language it received from the legislature.

Minnesota's referendum is one of many ballot initiatives taking place this year across the country regarding same-sex marriage. Voters in Washington and Maryland will decide by public referendum if their recently passed same-sex marriage legalization bills shall remain. Maine voters will vote on a ballot initiative to legalize same-sex marriage.

According to a recent SurveyUSA poll, 52 percent of Minnesota voters supported the marriage amendment, while 37 percent were opposed to it.

Minnesota for Marriage did not return comment by press time.

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