Voters in MN defeat anti-marriage constitutional amendment

Voters in Minnesotan have voted against adding an amendment that would have banned marriage for same-sex couples to the state constitution. Although Minnesota currently bans marriage for gay and lesbian couples by state statute, an amendment would have made it even more difficult for future generations of Minnesotans to someday share in the freedom to marry. This victory makes Minnesota the first state to ever defeat an anti-marriage amendment.

Freedom to Marry's Director of Public Engagement Thalia Zepatos, who served as a key adviser to Minnesotans United for All Families, heralded the historic win, the first time we've ever blocked an anti-gay constitutional amendment at the ballot. Thalia said: 

Today Minnesotans affirmed that marriage matters for their gay and lesbian neighbors and friends, as for all of us, and refused to slam the door on marriage in the state constitution. Now loving and committed couples in Minnesota will be able to work to achieve their dream of crossing the threshold, respected equally under the law. Minnesotans United worked doggedly day and night to make the case to voters in heartfelt and personal stories and conversations. They recruited thousands of volunteers for ‘get out the vote’ efforts and powerfully explained why marriage matters over the airwaves, online, and in one-on-one conversations. Non-gay people joined gay people across the states to stand up for freedom and fairness, and move Minnesota closer to the freedom to marry for all.

Richard Carlbom, the campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, also commented on the huge win. He said:

As soon as our opponents moved a constitutional amendment to the ballot, Freedom to Marry stepped up with leadership, expertise, and funding that was crucial to making Minnesota the first state to ever defeat an anti-marriage ballot initiative. The single largest investor in our work, Freedom to Marry provided vital funding support to Minnesotans United and, in addition, led a public education campaign that conveyed in powerful terms why marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples. Minnesota made history and Freedom to Marry was with us every step of the way.

Over the past year and a half, Minnesotans United built a coalition of 700 partner organizations and raised more than $13 million from over 67,000 donors, had 330,000 one-on-one conversations, and made more than two million phone calls, making it the largest ballot campaign in state history. It collaborated with faith leaders across the state to reach voters, enlisting opposition to the amendment from five of the six Lutheran synods in the state.

Freedom to Marry, a founding member of Minnesotans United, was the largest funder of Minnesota’s battle to defeat the anti-gay attack, raising and investing a total of $1.75 million. In addition to funding, Freedom to Marry provided strategic and messaging guidance and new media expertise and coordination. Freedom to Marry also led the campaign’s public education campaign, developing and running television spots highlighting Minnesota families talking about the freedom to marry.

Earlier tonight, voters in Maine and Maryland extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Word is still out on the results of Referendum 74, which could uphold the freedom to marry in Washington. But there's no doubt: Today is historic. We are moving forward on marriage for same-sex couples. We will continue to win more states and combat discrimination until all loving and committed same-sex couples in Minnesota can share in the protections, responsibilities, and joys that marriage provides. 

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