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Marriage Equality

Homerun: Minnesota Rejects Antigay Amendment

Homerun: Minnesota Rejects Antigay Amendment


Minnesota voters send a mean-spirited ballot initiative packing and leave their constitution unsullied.

For the first time ever, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment limiting marriage rights to opposite-sex couples. Minnesota became the first state to do such on Tuesday, with 51% of voters rejecting Amendment 1 and 48% endorsing it. The group pushing for the divisive measure conceded Wednesday morning.

"Despite the disappointing outcome of this election, we rejoice tonight that marriage is still marriage," John Helmberger, chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, said in a news release. "We know that God has defined marriage as between one man and one woman, regardless of the efforts of some to overthrow His design."

While Maine and Maryland voted in marriage equality on Tuesday, Minnesota will not have same-sex marriage rights now; voters only rejected a marriage ban from being written into their constitution. Marriage equality has been banned in Minnesota for years, but Republicans pushed through a ballot initiative this May to explicitly ban it in the state's constitution. Read below for how the battle in Minnesota played out.

First off, here's how Amendment 1 reads:
"Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman
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?"

Like Maine, Maryland, and Washington, the voters's decision is very close in Minnesota. While there is always the risk of the "Bradley effect" -- when people indicate liberal attitudes to pollsters but then vote with biases in private -- many Minnesotans are saying "no" to Amendment 1. A recent poll, taken in early October and querying nearly 1,000 people, shows 49% of voters rejecting the ban, with 46% supporting it. Another 5% weren't sure what they were going to do, and 1% indicated they would not vote either way for Amendment 1.

Ready for more good news? Minnesota's largest newspaper told its readership to reject the nasty Amendment 1. "We'd urge voters to think about the gay or lesbian friend and coworker in the next cubicle, the nice same-sex couple down the street, or the beloved gay family member," wrote the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's editorial board. "They have the same hopes and dreams as heterosexuals, and for many that includes the desire to marry and form a family with the person they love. In our hearts and souls, we Minnesotans are basically fair people who believe in human rights. That fundamental sense of humanity should lead to a 'no' vote on the marriage amendment." Of course, President Obama gave the thumbs down to Amendment One way back in April.

Here's the really good news: the total that Minnesotans United for All Families raised is about twice as much ($11 million) than its opponents ($5 million). Some of Minnesotans United money comes from out of state, including a $125,000 donation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During the most recent period, the group "raised about $3 million from Sept. 19 to Oct. 22, and received $536,000 in contributions since," according to a local report. The main group pushing for the ballot initiative, Minnesota for Marriage, appears to have raised about $2.7 million this fall. All in all, a staggering $16 million has been spent on the marriage issue in Minnesota.

All that money translates to ads blanketing airwaves from St. Paul to Duluth. DailyKos said the one below, featuring a Republican state politician pleading unsuccessfully for his fellow legislators to reject Amendment One, is the best. Judge for yourself and tell us what you think in the comments.

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