Video series explores stories behind marriage amendment vote

The fall campaign season in Minnesota will mean a sea of ads and other campaign materials, including many on the vote in November in which Minnesotans will decide whether to change the state's constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

But for many people, their minds are already made up -- and a new video series explores those 'moments' in several voters' lives when they solidified their views on marriage.

Jeff Jones and Anna Weggel, producers for American Public Media's Public Insight Network, sought voters who could clarify the personal experiences that informed their vote. They continue to seek responses from voters, who can do so here.

"Most people have a very clear answer on this topic, they already know how they're going to vote," Weggel said. "But what we wanted to know is what's the one story behind that vote? When did you decide this is your vote, and why?"

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

The GOP-led state Legislature voted in 2011 to put the question on the 2012 ballot. Gov. Mark Dayton, who opposes the amendment, has no say in the process of putting questions on the ballot.

The series documents voters who are both for and against the amendment, but also those who are undecided. One of those undecided voters is Cheyene Bishop.

"I have a relative [who] is bisexual and we're very close and I want nothing more for her than to be happy," Bishop said in the video. "But... my religion and beliefs state that being gay is wrong and they shouldn't be allowed to marry. So I'm kind of conflicted."

As PIN gathered responses, another fact of the vote stuck out: Confusion over ballot language wording.

"On both sides there's significant confusion on what we're actually voting for," Jones said. "There are plenty of people who are for gay marriage who plan to vote yes, thinking the question is 'should we allow gay marriage?' That's not the question - the question is 'should the constitution be changed to define marriage as between a man and woman?'

"It's clear that advocacy groups on both sides of this have some important work to do between now and November in making it clear just what the language is."

Here is a sample of the videos:

Undecided: Cheyenne Bishop

Support the amendment: Janelle and Brian Gehling

Against the amendment: Wendy Horowitz and Julian Bowers

View the full set of videos on YouTube.

Note: APM is the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio