Despite an unsettled governor's race, gay marriage foes in Minnesota are heartened by a GOP takeover in the Legislature.

While gay marriage was a real issue in the race between Democrat Mark Dayton and his Republican rival, Tom Emmer, opponents of the institution have turned their focus to statewide elections as a sign that voters will support a ballot question on placing a gay marriage ban in the state's constitution.

Dayton's razor thin lead has triggered a recount, now set to begin on November 29, the Minnesota Secretary of State said Friday.

Social conservatives, however, are already claiming victory.

Tom Prichard, president of the Christian-based Minnesota Family Council, told the AP on Thursday that this group will lobby for the question to be on the 2012 ballot.

Prichard said that last week's election turned the tables on gay marriage backers.

Senator Warren Limmer, the likely new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested he's in favor of the effort.

“The statement I'll make is that there's a keen interest by a majority of the members of both chambers to define marriage, and to allow the public to do so,” the Republican said.

Gay marriage appeared to define the race for the governor's mansion. During the campaign, contributions by Minnesota-based retail giant Target and electronics retailer Best Buy to MN Forward, an independent political fund supporting Emmer, an opponent of gay rights, including marriage, created a firestorm of protest from progressive and gay activists. Target, which had previously groomed a gay friendly image, was hit with a boycott. The actions by Target, Best Buy and 3M, which also contributed to MN Forward, resulted in a drop in their rankings on the 2011 Corporate Equality Index, a measure of a company's support for gay-inclusive policies. The annual survey is compiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, had invested heavily in the state, vowing to eighty-six all lawmakers backing plans by openly gay state Senator Scott Dibble to push in 2011 for Minnesota to become the next state to legislatively legalize gay marriage.

“Our efforts highlighting Mark Dayton's support of same-sex marriage played a big role here,” Brian Brown, president of NOM, said in a statement. “But in another historic victory, Republicans have taken both houses of the Minnesota Legislature. Same-sex marriage will not pass this legislature. And we are now positioned to get a vote on a constitutional amendment protecting marriage. This is huge.”

Should Dayton, a supporter of marriage equality, prevail in his bid to become governor, he would be powerless to stop the question from going to voters. Under Minnesota law, constitutional referendums are solely the domain of the Legislature.