ST. PAUL, Minn. - It was already a controversial question, but now the question of marriage in Minnesota has reached a new level of controversy.
A conservative group in favor of the gay marriage amendment, which would constitutionally ban gay marriage in the state, sued Minnesota's Secretary of State Mark Ritchie Monday, along with State Attorney General Lori Swanson.
That's because last month Ritchie, a Democrat, changed the title of the marriage amendment from, "Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman" to "Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples."
"Those words definitely are negative and misleading," said Senator Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove. "This is a question of separation of powers."
Richie got the legal go-ahead from Swanson who is a Democrat, as well.
"Our attorney general knows better. She should have provided better counsel," said Senator Julianne Ortman, a Republican from Chanhassen.
Critics believe Ritchie over stepped his authority and are concerned the new wording may sway voters.
Neither Richie nor Swanson would comment about the lawsuit. Richie's office said he would not comment because it was a pending lawsuit.
But according to a news release, the Secretary of State's office said, "the governor's veto of the legislation (Senate File 1308) invalidated the title designated by the legislature", opening the door for the change.
Opponents argue the governor's veto was merely symbolic and did not change a thing.
KARE 11 News took the two amendment versions to voters to see what they thought of the change.
"I would be interested to know the reason for changing it," asked Johannah Furuseth.
Although Furuseth wonders about the motives, she knows for sure she would vote the same no matter what versions are printed on the ballot.
But not everyone was as sure.
Valencia Meadows-Jackson, who was already on the fence about the issue, says she probably would have voted yes to the original version, but no to the Richie version because it used the word "Limiting".
"Totally, it would be totally different," she said of her vote.
"And even though they say the same thing, they convey different messages," said Hamline University Political Science professor David Schultz.
He believes if the change is upheld, it could be crucial in what he believes is shaping up to a very close vote.
"Politics is all about words and words do matter," he said.
The lawsuit will go directly to the State Supreme Court which will hear arguments in late July. Officials are asking the court to make a decision in August so they have enough time to print the ballots for the November election.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)