Law | National

Little Traverse Bay Bands recognize first same-sex marriage

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan is now the third tribe to recognize same-sex marriage.

The tribal council passed a bill that that defines marriage as a union between "two persons." Chairman Dexter McNamara signed it into law on Friday and immediately presided over the first marriage between Tim LaCroix, a 53-year-old tribal member, and partner, Gene Barfield, 60.

“I’m so proud of my tribe, for doing this for Gene and I,” La Croix told Michigan Radio. “It means a lot, not just for Gene and I but for all tribal members, for Native Americans in Michigan and elsewhere.

The couple's marriage won't be recognized by the state of Michigan. But two other tribes, along with nine states and the District of Columbia, recognize same-sex unions.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a union between "one man" and "one woman." The law does not require tribes or states to recognize same-sex marriages that may be legal in other jurisdictions.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear US v. Windsor on March 27, a case that challenges the constitutionality of the DOMA.

Get the Story:
Northern Michigan tribe legalizes same sex marriage (Michigan Radio 3/18)
Tribe marries same-sex couple but state won't recognize it (CNN 3/17)
Tribal same-sex bill OK'd, male couple marries (The Traverse City Record-Eagle 3/16)
Odawa tribe becomes third in nation to allow gay marriage; marries first couple (The Petoskey News Review 3/16)
Northern Mich. Indian tribal chairman signs same-sex marriage bill, male couple takes vows (AP 3/15)

Some Opinions:
John Carlisle: Odawa Indian tribe performs Michigan's first legal same-sex marriage (The Detroit Free Press 3/16)
Chris Faulknor: Tyranny by any other name (The Boyne City Gazette 3/18)

Related Stories:
Little Traverse Band chair to preside over 1st same-sex wedding (3/13)
Little Traverse leader to sign same-sex marriage bill into law (3/8)
Little Traverse Bay Bands close to recognizing same-sex unions (3/6)

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