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Gay marriage ban voted down at the State Fair

There aren't many places more heterosexual than the Minnesota State Fair: Jean shorts and sandals with socks are worn without irony; everything is fried, put on-a-stick, and fried again; and young married couples walk around with whole broods of screaming children in tow.

And even those people don't have a problem with gay marriage.

That's according to the results of the Minnesota House of Representatives State Fair Poll, which surveyed a record number of fairgoers on how they felt about a number of issues. The most dramatic finding in the survey was the question about the constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, which will hit the ballot on election day 2012.

If the State Fair is an accurate cross-section of Minnesota voters, then the gay marriage ban is going to go down, and go down hard.

The survey captured the feelings of 12,549 Minnesotans -- a record number for the volunteer poll, which relies on well-fed people walking up to a booth and requesting to fill out a piece of paper. Minnesota, you never cease to amaze us.

The survey's second question went like this:

2. Should the state constitution be amended to define marriage as "only a union of one man and one woman?" This question will be on the November 2012 ballot.

The answer, by a wide margin, is "No." Actually it was more like "No!"

Some 8,300 people, or 66.5 percent of those surveyed, voted against the exact language that will appear on the 2012 ballot. About 30 percent voted yes, and less than 4 percent had no opinion.

This is a bad sign for the state Republicans who, while wrangling with Mark Dayton over the budget, managed to pass through the amendment proposal that would ban gay marriage.

Speaking of the shutdown, only a couple State Fair poll questions had wider margins than the gay marriage ban amendment. One was a question asking whether the state should preserve funding levels to avoid another shutdown in "an upcoming biennium," an open-ended question which theoretically extends out forever. The answer, according to 69 percent of respondents, is yes, the state should just keep spending money and avoid a shutdown.

Are you listening, legislators? The shutdown was costly and embarrassing, and the State Fair says, "Never again."

The biggest margin of all was for the question, "Do you know who your state representative is?" An awe-inspiring 88 percent of respondents said "Yes."

Ah, Minnesota. How we love thee. 

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