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Michigan has its first same-sex marriage

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2013

NBC

The head of an American Indian tribe in Michigan signed a law approving same-sex marriage on Friday, joining at least two other tribes nationwide in doing so, then immediately wed a gay couple who had been together for 30 years but never thought they would see this day come.

Dexter McNamara, chairman of the 4,600-member Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in northern Michigan, wed Tim LaCroix, 53, and Gene Barfield, 60, of Boyne City. After McNamara read the couple’s vows and led the ceremony in English, a member of the tribe followed and conducted a traditional tribal ceremony in their language before dozens of wellwishers.

While the Little Traverse Bay Bands comes third in the list of Indian Nations, it is an important addition.

The impact of the Little Traverse Bay decision was unclear, though Fletcher said he thought it would carry weight with other tribes. Little Traverse Bay Bands was an influential, average-sized tribe that has been, along with some other Michigan tribes, “very much in the forefront of some good progressive tribal governance measures in the last couple decades.”

“We’ve been a role model, I think, for the federally recognized tribes of Michigan and it seems like we’re out in front — and not taking anything away from the other federally recognized tribes — but, you know, it seems like we kind of opened the door for other tribes and I think other tribes will follow,” he said.

Comments

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Regan DuCasse
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

What a sweet day for these good men. I’m so happy for them!

Ned Flaherty
March 21st, 2013 | LINK

This headline is incorrect.

The marriage took place in the Odawa sovereign nation, not in Michigan, which has banned same-gender marriage by law and by constitution.

The Odawa nation is physically inside of Michigan, but it is not part of Michigan, and the marriage did not occur in any part of Michigan.

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