Marriage voters speak out after amendment lossPublished 11:37am Thursday, November 8, 2012
While elections are over and the results are in, discussion over the marriage amendment hasn’t slowed down.
“I’m glad it didn’t pass,” said Otter Tail County DFL chairman Mike Windey. “I don’t think that belonged in the constitution.”
The Rev. Greg Paffel, however, said he didn’t think the amendment was actually “voted down.”
“I’m a little disappointed,” he said. “I don’t think it was really voted down. A lot of people didn’t know to vote yes because if you leave it blank, it’s counted as a ‘no.’”
A total of 1,399,806 voted yes on the amendment, 1,506,029 voted no and an estimated 33,591 were left blank, and by state law were counted as a no, leaving only 47.62 percent of the yes votes.
While gay marriage is still not legal in Minnesota, the fact that the amendment did not pass might be a sign of things to come. Minnesota was the first state to defeat a constitutional ban, after 30 states approved them in the last decade.
Until Tuesday, gay rights activists had never won a statewide vote, an indicator that acceptance for gay marriage is beginning to show up on election day.
“I think there’s going to be a lot more conversation over the issue,” Paffel said. “It’s not going to change anything for my teaching or the teaching of the Catholic church. If it does anything, it will embolden people who would like to keep marriage between a man and a woman and pursue if further.”
Windey said he thought this amendment would have been a step in the wrong direction for Minnesota.
“I believe it would have made it legal to discriminate against a class of people, and the constitution is supposed to encourage freedom,” he said.
Community members spoke out on the issue, and Erick Fromming of Fergus Falls said although he voted “yes” to the amendment, he wasn’t too disappointed when he saw it was voted down.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” he said. “I don’t think it will really affect anything.”