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ELECTION 2012: Minnesota Becomes First State to Reject “Traditional Marriage” Amendment

Robin Marty

The progressive-leaning state refuses to enshrine bigotry in the state constitution.

In Minnesota, by law, the right to marry is accorded only to heterosexual couples.  But for state Republicans who were also hoping to increase voter turnout in a presidential election year, a campaign to change the constitution to legally define marriage as only between a man and a woman has failed, both in turning out conservative voters or in making bigotry permanent in the state.

Minnesotans for Marriage, a front group of “traditional marriage” supporters mainly backed by the state’s Catholic churches, threw their full weight behind the effort (including church sponsored DVDs and illegal campaigning at some election sites). But they began to lose their momentum after one of the key architects of the amendment lost his job after he was found having an affair with the female Republican Speaker of the Senate, and then admitted the whole amendment effort was ploy for increased voter turnout. The issue became even more heated when Vikings punter Chris Kluwe threw his full support (and blog column power) into campaigning against the amendment.

Minnesota voters successfully rejected the amendment in a long, long night at the polls. The Yes vote lead for much of the night, as issues in Minneapolis polling districts left their votes not tabulated until after 1 a.m. But soon after results flooded in, and with over 99 percent of the vote counted the amendment failed to receive a majority vote.

That both a constitutional amendment defining marriage and a constitutional amendment requiring voter ID to cast a ballot is little shock after the state’s full results were known. Minnesota’s Republican party also lost control of the House and the Senate, both of which were won in the 2010 wave GOP election. Now, the state is returning to its solid blue roots.

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