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Ballot questions: It's only words

July 18, 2012
Marshall Independent

The wording of ballot questions concerning constitutional amendments to be voted on in November in Minnesota is garnering plenty of attention and is headed to court.

What's the point?

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has come under fire for changing the verbiage of the same-sex marriage ban from "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman" to "Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples."

Supporters of defining marriage as between only a man and a woman petitioned to reverse Ritchie's move. Several legislative Republicans and Minnesota for Marriage joined in the legal action, saying he overstepped his authority as chief elections administrator by rewording the question.

This is about semantics, and while we concede that the words "recognition" and "limiting" carry very different connotations, we argue that when it comes to the same-sex marriage issue, voters already have their minds made up. This is such a personal issue, and any voter's beliefs on the issue far outweigh the simple wording of the question. In other words, the majority of voters, we believe, already know how they're going to vote.

But some don't agree.

Some think the very wording itself could sway voters who are on the fence on the issue. But is there even a fence here? We submit you're either for same-sex marriage or you're against it, and the wording of the question won't change that. And remember, since the state already has a statutory ban on gay marriage, this amendment would do nothing more than solidify that ban.

In any event, legal action has been taken and, like the voter ID case, it's headed to court. From there, anything can happen, but we do know one group will walk away upset. This is yet another issue that has become saturated by politics, and dragging it to court is a waste of time and resources.

 
 

 

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