Does amendment defeat spell end of Minn. marriage debate? - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Does amendment defeat spell end of Minn. marriage debate?

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After the contentious marriage amendment failed to pass on Election Day, many voters are wondering whether the newly-elected, Democrat-controlled legislature will confront the issue of same-sex marriage again.

Although 51 percent of voters opted against the attempt to define marriage as between one man and one woman in the state's constitution, it is still illegal for gay couples to get married in Minnesota.

However, now that Democrats hold significant majorities in both the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate, many are wondering if that could change soon.

In fact, as soon as the results of the amendment referendum were in, some elected officials said a bill to legalize gay marriage should be the first thing the Legislature votes on in 2013 -- but even gay rights groups are saying, "not so fast."

Hours after defeating the marriage amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families joined allies on the Capitol steps to celebrate -- and there were several discussions about continuing the conversation toward legally recognizing same-sex unions.

"We want to continue the conversation. It brought out the best in people," said Monica Meyer, of OutFront Minnesota.

Meyer says OutFront wants to keep the momentum from the 18-month campaign going, but organizers have stopped short of saying they'll push for legislation that would make same-sex marriages legal in the next session.

"We put all our efforts into defeating the amendment, but we'll be looking ahead to continuing the conversation," Meyer explained, saying the group now plants to begin "talking to legislators, talking to people in the district and looking to see what's important in our state."

Although the election did deliver the state's Democratic governor a Democratic majority to both chambers for the first time in more than two decades, leaders say a balanced budget will be the first priority for incoming lawmakers -- not social issues.

Still, that isn't stopping state Sen. John Marty, who has introduced bills to legalize same-sex marriage twice since 2008. He told FOX 9 News he plans to introduce another one early next year, saying marriage equality has been on the shelf for long enough.

"We can't have people wait for their rights because someone wants to have more conversation," Marty said. "I respect their right to believe what they believe, but nobody voted on my marriage and no one should vote on theirs."

The campaign for the pro-amendment group Minnesota for Marriage told FOX 9 News this discussion is exactly why they wanted the amendment on the ballot. Supporters of the amendment say they fear legalization is the next step, but they say they won't stop their efforts to stop same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

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