2013's top Minnesota news story? Associated Press says gay marriage

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News junkies look forward to the annual ranking of the state's top stories, and the Associated Press chose Christmas Day to reveal its 2013 tally.

Gay marriage, which became legal in the state at the stroke of midnight on Aug. 1, was the AP's top Minnesota story for 2013. The right of same-sex couples to marry came nine months after Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman and 2½ months after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill making Minnesota the 12th U.S. state to legalize the unions.

The Associated Press does not rank the state's news stories in weighted list. The nine other top Minnesota events listed as notable include the clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church, MnSure's rocky start, the connection between Minnesota to the terrorist group al-Shabab, and the accusation that Ukrainian immigrant Michael Karkoc, 94, of Minneapolis was a commander in a Nazi SS-led unit.

Also included on the list of top events were stories about the complications with the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, the federal trial of Duluth head shop owner Jim Carlson and the shutdown of his business selling synthetic drugs, the rash of missing women who died in cases of suspected domestic violence, the release of a 2,200-page environmental review for a proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine and processing plant, and the ongoing labor impasse at the Minnesota Orchestra, including the resignation of famed conductor Osmo Vanska.

The Star Tribune is asking readers to select the top Minnesota sports story of 2013. In an instant poll, which the paper notes is not scientific, the top story is the comeback of the Gopher football program, which garnered 29 percent of the vote. The Lynx's WNBA title took 16 percent of the vote and the Gopher women's hockey team's NCAA championship pulled in 13 percent. The women's hockey team was named the Star Tribune Sportsperson of the Year for 2013.

The Associated Press also compiled a list of the biggest national and international stories for 2013, based on a poll of U.S. editors and broadcast news directors.

That poll found that the flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the top story of the year, receiving 45 first-place votes out of the 144 ballots cast for the top 10 stories. That problems with "Obamacare" was followed by the Boston Marathon bombing in second place, and the selection of Pope Francis and the subsequent changes at the Vatican in third.

That was followed by the partisan conflict in Congress, and the leaks about National Security Agency surveillance by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden. Other stories included in the AP's top ten were the expansion of gay marriage, the death of Nelson Mandela, the typhoon in the Philippines, the ongoing conflict in Syria and the discovery of three Cleveland women who had been held captive for years.

Time saw the leading events of 2013 differently. The magazine put the Snowden leaks as its top story, followed by the Boston Marathon bombing, and the problems with the Affordable Care Act in third place.

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