A proposed gay marriage ban in
Minnesota was defeated on Tuesday, marking the first time such a
measure has been rejected by voters.
Media called a loss for the amendment
at about 3AM ET Wednesday morning. According to POLITICO.com, voters
rejected the measure 51.5% to 47.2% with 88.1% of precincts
reporting. The measure needed 50 percent of the vote to pass.
After roughly five hours of often
emotional debate on a Saturday last May, the Minnesota House joined
the Senate in approving the amendment limiting marriage to
heterosexual couples and sending it to voters. The vote was close,
70 to 62, and four Republicans crossed the aisle to vote against
Defeat of the amendment will not allow
gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state, because Minnesota
currently bans such unions by law. Supporters of the amendment
argued that the measure was needed because the law remains vulnerable
to legal challenges.
In 2003, Minnesota Rep. Michele
Bachmann first proposed the amendment as a member of the state
Senate. Her second effort in 2005 stalled in committee.
Five years later, voters returned
Republicans to power in both chambers of the Legislature; they in
turn fast-tracked the amendment. The move came as a growing number
of Democrats backed proposals to legalize either marriage or civil
unions for gay couples in Minnesota.