The group backing an amendment to ban same-sex marriage is demanding to know whether Secretary of State Mark Ritchie colluded with opponents when he unilaterally rewrote the title of the ballot question.
Minnesota for Marriage on Friday filed a request for any amendment-related correspondence between Ritchie and Gov. Mark Dayton and Attorney General Lori Swanson, all Democrats.
The group is also seeking Ritchie’s travel expenses since legislators voted to put the amendment on the ballot and all correspondence with groups trying to defeat the amendment, including Minnesotans United for All Families.
“I just want to reaffirm my faith in government that they have done everything on the up and up,” said Andy Parrish, Minnesota for Marriage's deputy campaign manager. “I want to know that they have taken politics out of it.”
Without warning, Ritchie announced Thursday that he had rewritten the title of the marriage amendment ballot question. Supporters were furious, saying the new phrasing hurts their cause.
Legislative authors wrote the title as: “Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman."
But when Dayton issued a symbolic veto last year, he couldn’t keep the measure off the ballot, but Ritchie found that the governor’s action did invalidate the title. So Ritchie wrote a new one: “Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.”
Amendment supporters say the word “limiting” might sway undecided voters to oppose the amendment, fearing it adds new restrictions on personal freedom. Supporters are considering filing a lawsuit, which could force the courts to settle on the wording.
Parrish said he plans file similar data requests with Dayton and Swanson on Monday.
Ritchie’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ritchie did not change the wording of the actual ballot question, which voters will decide Nov. 6.