Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tribal Equality

True marriage equality in Oregon?

Yes... if you are a member of the Native American Coquille tribe. The Oregon News explains:

"As a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon's Constitution. The tribe recently adopted a law that recognizes same-sex marriage and extends to gay and lesbian partners, at least one of whom must be a Coquille, all tribal benefits of marriage."

So, with the backing of their tribe, Kitzen Branting and her partner Jeni Branting [pictured] plan on getting married. But there could be rough legal waters ahead...

"Because the Coquilles have federal status, a marriage within the tribe would be federally recognized... And that would violate the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that says the federal government 'may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose.' The federal government could challenge the Coquille law as a way of testing the limits of tribal independence..."

It's a wonderful thing to see tribal communities embracing all of their members as equal. And this is just one of so many examples of why the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" needs to go!

Be sure to check out PFLAG's resources for the Native American community.

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