Third American Indian tribe moves to allow same-sex marriage

Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian nation has voted to approve same-sex marriage – becoming the third US tribe to seek introduce marriage equality under its tribal laws

Third American Indian tribe moves to allow same-sex marriage
06 March 2013 Print This Article

Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians tribal council has voted to allow same-sex marriage under tribal law.

If not vetoed by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians tribal chairman the change would see at least some LGBT Michiganders allowed to marry for the first time despite the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The tribal council voted 5-4 to pass the statute.

If the tribal chairman decides to veto the law, the tribal council will need to vote 7-2 to overrule him, so it is not yet guaranteed the change will take effect.

The state ban will not effect same-sex marriages on Odawa territories and reserves as the United States recognizes Indian tribes as sovereign domestic nations with an ability to make their own laws akin to states.

If successful the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians would become the third American Indian nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Oregon’s Coquille tribe began marrying same-sex couples in 2009 and Washington state’s Suquamish Tribe began doing so in 2011.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in Washington state but Coquille lands are the only part of Oregon where same-sex couples may wed as the state has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

Many Odawa live in Canada, in the neighboring province of Ontario, where same-sex couples can also wed.

Two other branches of the Odawa in the United States, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, are yet to allow same-sex marriage.

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