Law | National

Interview with couple about Cheyenne-Arapaho marriage law

VICE interviews Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear, who will be getting married under the laws of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma:
VICE: So you guys found the loophole in Oklahoma, huh?
Jason Pickel: No! I keep telling reporters to stop saying loophole. We didn’t find a loophole in Oklahoma. Technically, we’re not even getting married in the state of Oklahoma. I think, in general, a lot of Americans don’t understand the concept of a sovereign nation. It’s not a state; it’s a territory. [The reservation]’s just like DC: it’s not part of Virginia; it’s its own place.
Darren Black Bear: We were getting married so I could get Jason on my insurance. That’s what this began as. It morphed and grew, and turned into a wedding. It went from the Gayly to our tribal paper, then to KOCO-5, then to… the world. It’s crazy how it grew.

Has anything like this happened before?
Jason: Actually we’re the third Native American couple [from the tribe] to be issued a same-sex marriage license. They just didn’t really want to be public and that’s fine. I met them for the first time yesterday.

Will your marriage only be recognized in your tribal area?
Jason: Within the state of Oklahoma, yes, it would only be recognized within the Cheyenne nation. Now, Oklahoma will recognize the court order to change my last name because it’s a federal court, and obviously they would have to abide by any court order. Other than that, our marriage will only be recognized in other states that recognize gay marriage

Get the Story:
Wanna Get Gay-Married in Oklahoma? Be Part Indian (VICE 10/29)

Related Stories:
Amber Bighorse: Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes make history (10/28)
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes draw attention to marriage law (10/25)
Editorial: Tribe leading way to marriage equality in Oklahoma (10/24)
Same-sex couple plans wedding under Cheyenne-Arapaho law (10/23)
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes recognize same-sex marriages (10/22)

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