Minnesotans reject marriage amendment - KMSP-TV

Minnesotans reject marriage amendment

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As Minnesotans headed to the polls on Tuesday, it was clear the proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot were top priorities for divided voters, but the marriage amendment was rejected early Wednesday morning.

From the moment the votes began to trickle in, two thirds of voters in reported precincts had shot down the measure to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman in the state Constitution. Many of the early returns came from Hennepin and Ramsey counties, where opposition to the measure was expected to be higher.

As the night went on, that margin narrowed down -- at one point to a 49-49 split, but a delay in reporting from Minneapolis later pushed the no votes above 50 percent of ballots cast at about 2 a.m.

Exit polls showed that a majority of women and voters under age 50 voted against the amendment, which was backed by a majority of men and those over 50. The vote was also largely split along party lines.

The amendment needed to earn at least 50 percent of the vote plus one to pass.

Amendments questions are also subject to slightly different rules than other items on the ballot, because any question left blank would automatically be counted as a no vote.

The failure of the amendment does not mean that gay marriage is legal in the state; however, supporters of the amendment fear that's the next step. Currently, Minnesota law prohibits same-sex couples from obtaining a marriage license in the state. Amending the Constitution would have barred the Supreme Court or the Legislature from altering or repealing that law.

Both sides of the issue spent record amounts to plead their case to the public, and the cause attracted some big names, from sporting celebrities like Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Lynx star Seimone Augustus, to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who donated $125,000 against the amendment.

The issue also revived a debate over the role of churches in the political process, especially after Catholic leaders across the state sent letters to parishioners voting.

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