ST. PAUL, Minn. - Election night victory parties are supposed to end with crescendos, but with the Twin Cities Gay Men's chorus on stage, marriage amendment opponents started their wait for results on a dramatic note too.
A festive atmosphere permeated a St. Paul River Centre ballroom as hundreds gathered to await results of the vote on Minnesota's sex marriage amendment.
There was plenty to celebrate early, as members of the self-proclaimed non-partisan group gave a rousing ovation to the re-election of President Obama, a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Yet stomachs remained tied in knots.
Joanna Campbell and Tanya Hulsey, dressed in matching Disney newlywed t-shirts, sat quietly knitting off to one side of the ballroom.
The knitting, said Campbell has been "my outlet for stress."
Campbell and Hulsey were married in 2008 in California. They knew any hope of gaining marital status back home in Minnesota would be dashed if the marriage amendment passed.
"If it doesn't go our way, we want to be with other people who are kind of in the same place we are," said Hulsey, when asked why the couple chose to spend the long evening at River Centre.
Hulsey had reason for concern. No state's voters had turned back a marriage amendment push. Yet as the night wore on, incoming vote totals seemed to suggest Minnesota might be different.
U.S senator Amy Klobuchar was among the first of the night's speakers to project the win. "We are on the verge of making history," she proclaimed to applause.
The confirming numbers would not come for a couple more hours. It was nearly 2:00 a.m. - with some partiers exhausted and sitting on the floor - when Richard Carlbom, campaign manager, came to the podium to make the announcement that the amendment had failed.
"Tonight Minnesota proved that love is bigger than government," he said, as amendment opponents rose to their feet, many embracing and bursting into tears.
Campbell and Hulsey put down their knitting needles and hugged quietly near the back of the ballroom.
"It's amazing to have somebody for once, a bunch of somebodies, not say you're less than," said Hulsey, holding back tears.
Crescendo back on.
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