Gay Marriage and Tribal Sovereignty
August 21, 2008 at 9:19 AM
A very interesting story appears in today's issue of Portland's The Oregonian. The story details how the Coquille Tribe of Southern Oregon has decided to recognize gay marriage among their tribal members. The constitution for the State of Oregon explicitly denies marriage rights to same-gender couples. However, the Coquille Tribe, as a sovereign nation, is not bound by the Oregon Constitution. At issue, is whether Native American tribes are bound by the federal Defense of Marriage Act which restricts federal recognition of same-sex unions. As a federally-recognized tribe, marriages performed by the Coquille Nation are recognized by the federal government. The issue presents an interesting interplay of DOMA, tribal sovereignty, and the thousand year old tradition of recognizing same-sex relationships in Native American tribes.
Gay marriage in Oregon? Tribe says yes -- The Oregonian (Portland)
Indian tribe recognizes same-sex marriage -- Box Turtle Bulletin