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Timing Of ‘Vote Yes’ Ad Signals Close Race

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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, Minn. (WCCO) - The group working to add a ban on same-sex marriage to the Minnesota Constitution started a television ad campaign across the state on Monday.

Minnesota for Marriage says it will spend $750,000 in the next four weeks on the ad campaign.

It’s a significant step for the Vote Yes group, which is pushing for the same sex marriage ban. It’s also earlier than expected, reflecting how close the vote might be.

The two ads feature former Twin Cities television anchor Kalley Yanta, mixing politics and religion.

“Marriage is more than a commitment between two loving people. It was made by God for the creation and care of the next generation,” Yanta said. “Who should decide the definition of marriage? We think it should be the people.”

The ad marks an escalation in the amendment war. It would place into the state constitution what’s already in state law: Defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

At the state headquarters for Vote Yes, organizers are raising a specific question in the last month of the campaign: If the amendment fails, could legal gay marriage in Minnesota be around the corner?

Autumn Leva of Minnesota for Marriage says to decision to define marriage in the state should be up to the people.

“Who’s going to decide on the definition of marriage in Minnesota? Is it going to be you, the voters? Or is it going to be judges and politicians?” Yanta asks.

Across town, officials at the Vote No say the effort to ban gay marriage in the constitution permanently singles out and excludes gay and lesbian couples. Richard Carlbom of Minnesotans United for All Families says a constitutional ban is an attempt to end a valid conversation.

“They are absolutely trying to figure out how to scare Minnesotans, unfortunately,” said Carlborn. “What this question simply does is take it from a conversation that’s taking place in our communities, and put it into the constitution – and ends that conversation for at least a generation.”

Public opinion surveys seem to indicate it is very close.

A recent Star Tribune poll called it a dead heat with 49% in favor, and 47% opposed.

The ads will run for the next month, and Vote Yes organizers and the Catholic Church are trying to raise more money to buy more TV air time.

“Everyone has a right to love who they choose, but nobody has a right to redefine marriage,” Yanta said.

There are four states with marriage amendments on the ballot this fall: Minnesota, Washington, Maine and Maryland.

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