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Same-Sex Marriage — Native American Style

Oregon's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage won't stop one lesbian duo from getting their marriage legally recognized in the state. After the couple asked, the Coquille Indian Tribe in southern Oregon adopted a law recognizing same-sex marriages. The Coquille is the first tribe to legalize same-sex marriage, but it isn't the the first Indian tribe to take a stance on the matter: the Navajo and Cherokee tribes both ban same-sex marriage.

The Coquille tribal leader explained:

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.

Indian tribes have legal authority over domestic relations between members, unless Congress decides to take away that right. Nonetheless, the state of Oregon and the federal government will not recognize the unions performed by the tribe. Do you see a tidal wave of same-sex marriage legalization coming, or will this evolution of marriage stay on the reservation?


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