On June 28, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced that the approved title for the proposed marriage amendment will be “Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.” Ritchie explained that he is required by statute to provide an “appropriate” title for each constitutional amendment and that the governor’s veto of the legislation invalidated the title designated by the legislature. I respectfully disagree.
The question on the ballot will be, “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 bill proposing this amendment was first introduced in the Senate and was soon amended by a vote of 49-16 to add the title, “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.” The amended bill passed the Senate by a vote of 38-27 and the House by a vote of 70-62. The bill was presented to Gov. Dayton and then filed with secretary of state.
Since it was passed as a bill, the constitution required that the proposed amendment be presented to the governor. However, the governor need not approve a proposed constitutional amendment and he has no authority to veto it. Governor Dayton vetoed the legislation, but his veto had no effect. Even he acknowledged that his veto was “symbolic” only.
Minnesota, in its laws and judicial decisions, has never used the term “marriage” to include same-sex relationships. Never. The proposed amendment preserves the common understanding of marriage in the constitution so that any decision to redefine it will be made by the people and not by a handful of politically-driven public officials, legislators, and judges.
Please vote “yes” on the proposed marriage amendment and remember that leaving the question blank counts as a “no” vote.