The Odawa Indian Tribe of MI has gone where overall the state REFUSES to go…making same sex marriage-LEGAL! The happy couple exchanged nuptials with each other yesterday…and it’s been a long time waiting!
According to Michigan Newspaper, Detroit Free Press:
Last year, the Odawa tribal council debated a resolution to recognize gay marriage, but the measure failed by one vote. When it was reintroduced, the language was changed to require at least one spouse be a tribal citizen, and that swayed support. On March 2, it passed by a 5-4 vote.
All that was needed was the signature of tribal Chairman Dexter McNamara, whose veto would have required a difficult 7-2 council majority to override.
McNamara not only signed it, but also asked to perform the wedding ceremony.
“I’ve always felt that either you believe in equal rights or you are prejudiced,” McNamara said. “We don’t have a dividing line in this tribe. Everyone deserves to live the lives of their choice.”
Out of 500 federally recognized tribes in the country, and a dozen in Michigan, the Odawa tribe became the first to legalize gay marriage in the state and only the third in the nation.
And because of tribal sovereignty, neither the state’s constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage nor the federal Defense of Marriage Act can stop them.
“This is their turf,” Barfield said, standing in the tribal offices. “They have their own government, they have their own police force, they have their own rules and regulations. They’re very big on respect, and for them to say to us, ‘We respect your relationship and your prerogative to define it as you choose,’ is really special.”
“I’m so proud of my tribe for doing this,” LaCroix added. “I just can’t say enough.”
The couple met in 1983 while both were on active duty in the Navy. They live in northern Michigan, where they garden, assemble model railroads and share two dogs and a cat.
“We’ve been partners for 30 years in the way people use the word ‘partner’ for a same-sex couples,” Barfield said. “Now, we’re not going to be partners anymore. We’re going to be spouses.”
We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, and earnestly desiring to secure these blessings undiminished to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.
To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.