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 passage.

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.