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Reality Check: The Impact Of The Marriage Amendment

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — If the marriage amendment passes or fails, here’s what will happen: Nothing.

It’s TRUE.

Gay marriage is already illegal in Minnesota. If the amendment passes, it will still be illegal. If the amendment fails, gay marriage will still be illegal in Minnesota.

Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW.

Minnesota law specifically defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

A separate law specifically forbids same sex marriage. That won’t change no matter what voters decide. However, if it’s in the constitution, it’s much harder to change the law because you’ve got to change the constitution first.

That’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY.

It’s harder to PASS a constitutional amendment.

In a regular election, the person with the most votes wins; and lots of politicians win without getting 50 percent of the vote. But a constitutional amendment must get 50 percent OF ALL THE VOTES CAST, plus 1.

So, if you cast vote for everything else, and skip the constitutional amendment, it’s the same as voting no.

A constitutional amendment can fail, even if it gets the most votes.

That’s Reality Check.
 
Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

MN marriage statute
MN law prohibiting same sex marriage
MN Secretary of State
Text of Gay Marriage amendment
Votes Needed to Pass Amendment
Historical Results for Constitutional Amendments
MN Legislature Summary of Marriage Laws
Marriage Amendment Supporters 
Marriage Amendment Opponents

Historical Election Results:
Governor Pawlenty 2006
Governor Dayton 2010
Senator Franken 2008

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