Start A Petition
Group Discussions
NativeAmerican GayCouple in OKLAHOMA to Wed by Tribal Law
4 years ago
Gay Couple Uses Tribal Law to Marry in Oklahoma - Yahoo News
Society & Culture  (tags: cheyenne, arapaho, gaymarriage, triballaw, oklahoma, gaymarriageban, statelaw, nativeamericansovereignty, gayrights, LGBT )
BMutiny  -
Tribal law doesn't fall under the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as occurring only between a man and a woman. They plan to wed Oct. 31. Darren Black Bear, member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, was able to get a marriage license
Same-Sex Marriage actually a TRADITION among NativeAmerican Tribes
4 years ago

A same-sex couple successfully applied for a marriage license in Oklahoma despite the state’s strict rules against gay marriage. The pair used a legal loophole to get the license last Friday under tribal law, which doesn't fall under the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as occurring only between a man and a woman. They plan to wed Oct. 31.

Darren Black Bear, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, was able to get a marriage license to wed his partner of nine years, Jason Pickel, because the tribe’s legal system does not specify two people must be of different genders to be wed.

Rosemary Stephens, the editor in chief of the tribes’ Tribal Tribune, told Yahoo News another gay couple in the tribe wed in December 2012 under the law, but did not make their union public. At least one person in the couple must be an enrolled member of the tribe in order to get a marriage license, however.

Stephens said no one in the tribe has raised any objections to the practice of giving out marriage licenses to both straight and gay couples. “They’re held in high esteem,” Stephens said of Black Bear and Pickel.

While Oklahoma won’t recognize the marriage, the federal government most likely will, thanks to last June's Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court said the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages, but said states are free to ignore and prohibit them if they want.

There is still confusion about what the ruling means for the rights of same-sex married couples who live in states that don’t recognize them, which will most likely be worked out in future court battles.

Pickel plans to take Black Bear’s last name, and the two hope to file their federal taxes jointly, Stephens said. The men are marrying in Watonga, Okla.

“When we have equality in all 50 states and all U.S. territories, that is when we'll have true equality,” Pickel told a local TV station. “That's when I will be truly, truly happy.” Pickel didn't immediately return a request for comment from Yahoo News.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes have nearly 12,500 members, about 60 percent of whom live in Oklahoma.

COQUILLE TRIBE IN OREGON first tribe to officially adopt GayMarriage
4 years ago

 May  2012
The Coquille Indian Tribe, based on the southern Oregon coast, recently adopted a law recognizing same-sex marriage, and its first such wedding is set for next spring.

Oregon voters amended the state constitution in 2004 to prohibit gay marriage. But as a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon Constitution.

American Indians are “sensitive to discrimination of any kind,” said Ken Tanner, chief of the Coquilles.

“For our tribe, we want people to walk in the shoes of other people and learn to respect differences. Through that, we think we build a stronger community,” he said.

The Coquilles are believed to be the first tribe to legalize same-sex marriage. Three years ago, a lesbian couple in Oklahoma tested a loophole in the Cherokee Nation’s law that defined marriage as between two people enrolled in the tribe.

The tribe’s clerk denied the couple’s marriage certificate, prompting a lawsuit, and the Cherokee Supreme Court eventually sided with the couple. But they never submitted the marriage certificate to the county clerk, which would have taken the issue outside the tribe. The tribal council later adopted a law banning same-sex marriage.

Becky Flynn, regional director of Basic Rights Oregon, a gay rights advocacy group, said Wednesday the impact of the Coquille law is likely to be minimal beyond the couple and the tribe.

The federal government has the legal right to deny recognition to same-sex marriages under the Federal Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996. The tribe concluded that the act may bar the Coquilles from conferring federal benefits or money on same-sex spouses, said Melissa Cribbins, assistant tribal attorney. [NO LONGER TRUE, OF COURSE!!! THANK GOODNESS!!!!!]

The first couple to get married under the new law is expected to be Jeni and Kitzen Branting, whose maiden name is Doyle and who legally adopted Jeni’s last name three years ago. Kitzen is a member of the tribe; Jeni is not.

Read more:



[Possibly, now that DOMA is no more, the bad attitudes will change.... we can hope!]

4 years ago

Recently, the DUWAMISH, the "People of Chief Seattle", in the State of Washington, became the SECOND Tribe, after the COQUILLES of Oregon, to LEGALIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE for Tribal Members.

However, it is my understanding that the NAVAHO Tribal Council, decided AGAINST making Same-sex Marriage legal.

As noted above, even within the State of Oklahoma, the CHEYENNE and ARAPAHO say it's okay...
the CHEROKEE [last I heard, which is last year], say it's NOT OKAY.

Coquilles, Duwamish, Cheyenne, Arapaho - 1
Navaho, Cherokee - zero!

Of course, things are RAPIDLY CHANGING, so I don't know how UP-TO-DATE the Negatives are!
I do foresee them changing...
Interestingly enough, BEFORE THE COMING OF THE PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES, Same-sex Marriage WAS A CUSTOM in Native American tribal culture... has been DOCUMENTED by early explorers, missionaries, Jesuit priests, fur traders, anthropologists, etc.... most of whom were SHOCKED...

4 years ago

"The Suquamish tribe of Port Madison, Washington, voted unanimously Monday to legalize recognition of same-sex marriage.

From the Associated Press:

The new law allows the tribal court to issue a marriage license to two unmarried people, regardless of their sex, if they’re at least 18 years old and at least one of them is enrolled in the tribe.

It will be up to other courts to decide if unions granted under the Suquamish ordinance will be recognized elsewhere in Washington, said the tribe’s attorney, Michelle Hansen.

The Suquamish tribe is believed to be the second tribe to have instituted same-sex marriage recognition."


Of course, in the State of Washington - unlike in Oklahoma, and Oregon - Same-Sex Marriage is now LEGAL FOR EVERYONE!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!
It is possible that in some "subversive" psychological way, the Tribal Legalization LED THE WAY in Washington... where Same-Sex Marriage was APPROVED BY THE VOTERS OF THE STATE last November!!!!!
And, the SAME THING COULD HAPPEN in Oregon and in Oklahoma; couldn't it???!!!
Tribes Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage
4 years ago

According to the Seattle Gay News,
"A number of other Native American tribes that have approved Same-sex Marriage [besides the Cheyenne - Arapaho mentioned in the above article]
The Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon {2009}
The Suquamish Tribe in Washington State {2011}
The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan {2013}
The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington State {2013}
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan {2013}
The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California {2013}.

Congratulations to them ALL!!!
We see a trend starting... even in those States that ban Same-sex Marriage for non-Tribal members!!

4 years ago

Sorry, I got the "Duwamish" tribe, confused with the "Suquamish".
Understandable - they BOTH lived on land that is now Seattle, Chief Seattle was an important person in BOTH their tribes {they didn't actually use the word or concept "Chief", as we understand it}.
The two are closely related linguistically and genetically, and both have rivers named after them.
The Duwamish are recognized by the Federal Govt as Native Americans - but not as a tribe. {And that's a long and twisted story.} Many of the Duwamish are enrolled in other tribal groups.
BOTH groups, then, can call themselves "The People of Chief Seattle".

"In 2011, the Suquamish tribal council voted unanimously to approve same-sex marriage." [Wikipedia.]
That is the correct group. I apologize for the error.

This thread is archived. To reply to it you must re-activate it.

New to Care2? Start Here.