Minnesota voters reject same sex marriage ban

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 10:11 EDT
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MN Sen Al Franken at LGBT rally in Minneapolis via Flickr Commons
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Voters in Minnesota have defeated a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would redefine marriage as being strictly between a man and a woman. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the proposed amendment failed by more than 100,000 votes with more than 98 percent of precincts reporting, although the bill’s sponsors have yet to concede the loss.

“I think we’re going to wait for the rest of the results to come in and see what the final results are in the morning,” said Andy Parrish, deputy campaign manager of Minnesota for Marriage, late Tuesday night. Minnesota for Marriage was the organization that sponsored the ballot measure.

Polls have been tight regarding the measure’s chance of passage, but as Election Day came closer, support for the amendment waned.

“You dug down and fought for love, with love,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to supporters at a rally late Tuesday night. “You understood compassion. This wound up being one of the most inspirational things that’s ever happened in Minnesota. Minnesota is going to be the state that’s going to show the country exactly what Minnesota values are all about.”

“Saturday Night Live” comic turned U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) joked in the days running up to the election that LGBT rights are important enough that voters should feel free to abandon their children at home if necessary to ensure that they make it to the polls.

“I don’t want any of you to wake up on November 7th and say to yourself, ‘You know, I wish I had worked a little bit harder on this,’” Franken said at a rally last week.

“Some of you have families, ignore them,” he joked. “I see a lot of kids here, so I see a lot of parents here. An 8-year-old knows how to microwave.”

The intense partisan strife over the Minnesota ballot initiative and the millions of dollars poured into the fight have made the measure, according to the Star-Tribune, “the most expensive and divisive ballot question in state history.”

Same sex marriage won big victories in all 4 states where it was on the ballot, a list that included Maine, Maryland and Washington state. Voters in Minnesota also overturned a proposed constitutional amendment requiring photo ID to vote in the state, a surprise result that was a blow to conservatives.

Eric Fought, spokesperson for the fight against the ID requirement said that the proposed requirements for voter ID were too vague and that the law could lead to unintended consequences as a result.

“They did not provide the details people needed to vote yes on this,” he told the Duluth News-Tribune. “There were too many questions left unanswered and too many doubts.”

[image of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken via Flickr Commons]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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