Minnesota says ‘no’ to gay marriage banPublished 11:01am Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Mower favors marriage ban, but amendment fails in state
While Mower County gave a resounding “yes” to a constitutional ban on gay marriage, that amendment and a voter ID amendment both narrowly failed statewide.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday morning, the marriage amendment had garnered the support of 47.6 percent of voters, while the amendment which would require a photo ID for voting got the nod from 46.4 percent of voters. Both amendments needed a majority to pass.
In Mower County, 47.8 percent of voters approved of the photo ID amendment, but 57.2 voted yes on the marriage amendment.
Mower County DFL Co-chair Wanda Lunning thinks the main reason the gay marriage amendment got support locally is residents’ religious beliefs. That sentiment is reflected in statewide exit poll data, which found seven in 10 voters who attend religious services supported it, along with four in five born-again or evangelical voters.
However, Lunning thinks it shouldn’t have been on the ballot at all.
“Anything that restricts people’s rights shouldn’t be in the constitution,” she said. “No matter how people feel about gay rights, it’s not right to close the door to not be able to discuss it in the future.”
Minnesota’s rejection of the gay marriage ban was just one piece of a big night for gay activists and their allies nationwide. In Maine and Maryland, voters legalized gay marriage; in Washington, a measure to the same was leading. The wins were a resounding reversal of a 32-state winning streak for gay marriage opponents.
The defeat of the photo ID requirement was just as surprising, with the proposal drawing strong support in polls for months. Both amendments were put on the ballot by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Those same Republicans also lost their House and Senate majorities on Tuesday.
“This conversation doesn’t end tonight. It’s only just begun,” said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, which fought the gay marriage ban. “Because we beat this amendment, Minnesota is in a position to ensure that the next generation can participate in the conversation about who can participate in marriage.”
Gay marriage remains illegal under Minnesota state law. The amendment would have put that prohibition in the constitution. But the outcome of the vote, and the Democratic takeover of the Legislature, is likely to initiate a push for legal gay marriage in the state.
The election was a stinging loss for the GOP in Minnesota, from the top of the ticket to the bottom. President Barack Obama claimed the state’s 10 electoral votes on his way to a re-election victory. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar won a lopsided re-election victory over Republican Kurt Bills. Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack was ousted in northern Minnesota, while Rep. Michele Bachmann narrowly won in her strongly Republican district.
Even though Mower County has historically gone to DFLers, there was still a lot of whoopin’ and hollerin’ as the results came in last night.
Lunning said they were thrilled the state voter ID and marriage amendments failed, but the biggest shock came when Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, upset incumbent Republican Rich Murray of Albert Lea, to help the DFL take control of the Minnesota Legislature.
Conservatives around the country have been pressing to require photo ID for voting in the last several years. Eric Fought, spokesman for the campaign that opposed the measure in Minnesota, said its backers never convinced voters that the requirement was actually necessary.
Democratic politicians had argued that photo ID requirements were meant to make voting tougher for certain groups that tend to favor Democrats: elderly people, the poor, college students and members of minority groups. Local government officials also said the ID requirement would be a costly mandate.
According to exit poll data, the marriage ban was opposed by a majority of women and backed by a majority of men. Votes were also divided by age, with voters under 50 against it by a substantial majority and those over 50 strongly in favor. The vote also split by party lines: three in four Democrats said they voted against it, and three in four Republicans backed it.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Mower County Total
|39 of 39 county precincts reporting||4,102 of 4,102 precincts reporting|