Oklahoma same-sex couple legally marries under tribal law

This month, another tribal nation began extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. In Oklahoma, Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the state, since they received a marriage license from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Concho, Oklahoma.

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Tribal council of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians approves marriage statute

This week, the tribal council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, based in Michigan, approved a statute that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the tribe. The tribe would become the third tribal nation to respect and perform marriages for same-sex couples.

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The Suquamish tribe unanimously approves the freedom to marry

The Suquamish tribe of Washington state will now join the ranks of six states and the District of Columbia in extending the freedom to marry to all citizens.

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Voice for Equality: Joe Shirley Jr.

Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr. received Equality Arizona’s Barry Goldwater Human Rights Award for speaking out against and vetoing the discriminatory Diné Marriage Act of 2005 that banned marriage for same-sex couples on the Navajo reservation.

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Coquille marriage equality law takes effect

The Oregonian
May 21, 2009
A Coquille Indian Tribe law allowing marriage equality took effect on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. The law recognizes the freedom to marry and extends to gay and lesbian partners, at least one of whom must be Coquille, all tribal benefits of marriage. Neither Washington nor Oregon have legalized marriage equality, but as a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon Constitution. [Link]

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TALKING TO POLITICIANS: I too am American

Guest Blogger: Ron Buckmire

I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples for one simple reason: it’s the right thing to do. I believe in fairness, equality and reciprocity and would like to believe that a majority of Americans share these values. As a college professor, I believe that Americans don’t understand that if they believe in the values of fairness, equality and reciprocity then they should also support the freedom to marry.

It is unfair to deny the rights and responsibilities that are attached to a civil marriage license to same-sex couples. Opposite sex couples could meet one day and get married the very next day and have access to over 1,100 state and federal laws and regulations, including the right to sponsor a foreign partner for permanent immigrant status, joint tax filing and the right to refuse to testify against a spouse in court, just to mention a few.

There is inequality in how same-sex relationships are recognized by the state and federal governments as well as the society at large. I have been in a relationship with another man since 1991, shared a household since 1994, registered as domestic partners since 1999 but the federal government and most businesses consider me “single.” Compare this to the full recognition that all levels of government will provide a marriage between heterosexual couples who have known each other for a mere hours before getting married in Las Vegas (c.f. Britney Spears). This unequal treatment is a direct denigration of the love and commitment of same-sex couples who manage to persevere despite not receiving government or societal support.

The refusal of the majority of Americans to treat same-sex couples how they themselves would like to be treated is a violation of the Golden Rule of Reciprocity. It reveals just how differently most Americans view same-sex couples from themselves. The reason Americans refuse to apply reciprocity to same-sex couples is that they have incomplete, inaccurate and frankly imaginary information about gay people like myself. No, one’s sexual orientation is not a choice. (When did you choose yours? Were you considering a different one?) No, not all same-sex couples are White and/or rich. The Williams Institute at UCLA Law School, a think tank on sexual orientation law and public policy, has analyzed official U.S. Census data and calculated that same-sex couples throughout the United States have lower incomes and are more racially diverse than their straight counterparts.

I hope that by educating Americans on precisely how denying the freedom to marry violates our shared values of fairness, equality and reciprocity will hasten the day when American principles will match American law.



Professor Ron Buckmire is a devoted partner, college professor and activist in the movement for equalty for gay couples and singles. He lives in Southern California and publishes The Mad Professah Lectures.

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New tribal law allows couple to plan wedding

The Register-Guard
August 21, 2008
Shannon Minter, an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the implications for sovereignty are probably limited, because the federal government has the legal right to deny recognition to same-sex couples' marriages under the Federal Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996. [Link]

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Marriage equality in Oregon? Tribe says yes

The Oregonian
August 20, 2008
As a federally recognized sovereign nation, the Coquilles tribe is not bound by the Oregon's Constitution. The tribe recently adopted a law that recognizes same-sex marriage and extends to gay and lesbian partners, at least one of whom must be a Coquille, all tribal benefits of marriage. [Link]

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Native American Church Removes Ban on Gay and Lesbian Marriages

eMediaWire
April 20, 2007

"First Nation Church, its members and ministers believe that marriage is a covenant between two adults and their God, based upon their love for one another. We believe that love for each other, for nature and for all things created by God materializes from the heart, not from legislative bodies. This basic tenet was so important that the founding fathers established it as the cornerstone of the United States Constitution, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights: that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'" [Link]

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Navajo Lesbian Speaks Out About Same-Sex Marriage

NativeOUT News
April 24, 2006
For the past couple of days I have been bombarded with images & talk about weddings, commitments, marriages and celebrations with dozens of family members present. All the while I am thinking to myself, "Will I ever get to have such a ceremony, an opportunity to voice aloud my declaration of love before my family and friends?" Probably not! Why? It is because I am a lesbian and in our current Navajo society our rights and declarations have been grossly overlooked, unacknowledged, and recently made unconstitutional. [Link]

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