Same-sex marriage under United States tribal jurisdictions
The individual laws of the various United States federally recognized Native American tribes set the limits on same-sex marriage under their jurisdictions. Most, but not all, Native American jurisdictions have no special regulation for marriages between people of the same sex or gender. Same-sex marriage is possible in the Coquille Tribe (Oregon) since 2009, the Mashantucket Pequot (Connecticut) since at least 2011, the Suquamish tribe (Washington) since 2011, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Washington), the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Minnesota), Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (Michigan), Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (Michigan), and Santa Ysabel Tribe (California) since 2013, and the Puyallup (Washington), the Wind River Indian Reservation (Wyoming) and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community since 2014. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes were granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples by 2013, without any change to their marriage laws. These marriages were first recognized by the federal government in 2013 after section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor.
- 1 Nations that provide legal recognition
- 1.1 Blackfoot Tribe
- 1.2 Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska
- 1.3 Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
- 1.4 Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
- 1.5 Coquille Tribe
- 1.6 Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation
- 1.7 Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
- 1.8 Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
- 1.9 Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel
- 1.10 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
- 1.11 Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- 1.12 Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
- 1.13 Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
- 1.14 Mashantucket Pequot
- 1.15 Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
- 1.16 Pascua Yaqui Tribe
- 1.17 Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
- 1.18 Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
- 1.19 The Puyallup Tribe of Indians
- 1.20 Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community
- 1.21 San Carlos Apache Tribe
- 1.22 Suquamish Tribe
- 1.23 Wind River Indian Reservation
- 2 Nations that might have recognition
- 2.1 Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
- 2.2 Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
- 2.3 Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation
- 2.4 Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
- 2.5 Bay Mills Indian Community
- 2.6 Blue Lake Rancheria
- 2.7 Burns Paiute Tribe of the Burns Paiute Indian Colony
- 2.8 Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
- 2.9 Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
- 2.10 Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana
- 2.11 Colorado River Indian Tribes
- 2.12 Comanche Nation
- 2.13 Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
- 2.14 Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians
- 2.15 Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
- 2.16 Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon
- 2.17 Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon
- 2.18 Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
- 2.19 Crow Tribe of Montana
- 2.20 Curyung Tribal Council
- 2.21 Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
- 2.22 Ely Shoshone Tribe
- 2.23 Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
- 2.24 Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- 2.25 Fort Belknap Indian Community
- 2.26 Gila River Indian Community
- 2.27 Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
- 2.28 Ho-Chunk Nation
- 2.29 Hoh Indian Tribe
- 2.30 Hoopa Valley Tribe
- 2.31 Hopi Indian Tribe
- 2.32 The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe
- 2.33 Karuk Tribe
- 2.34 Lummi Nation
- 2.35 Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
- 2.36 Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
- 2.37 Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut
- 2.38 Morongo Band of Mission Indians
- 2.39 Nez Perce Tribe
- 2.40 Nisqually Indian Tribe
- 2.41 Northern Cheyenne Tribe
- 2.42 Oglala Sioux Tribe
- 2.43 Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
- 2.44 Oneida Nation of New York
- 2.45 Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
- 2.46 Penobscot Nation
- 2.47 Pit River Tribe
- 2.48 Poarch Band of Creeks
- 2.49 Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
- 2.50 Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
- 2.51 Pueblo of San Ildefonso
- 2.52 Rosebud Sioux Tribe
- 2.53 Sac and Fox Nation
- 2.54 Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
- 2.55 Santee Sioux Nation
- 2.56 Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
- 2.57 Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
- 2.58 Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe
- 2.59 Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation
- 2.60 Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation
- 2.61 Smith River Rancheria
- 2.62 Snoqualmie Indian Tribe
- 2.63 Spirit Lake Tribe
- 2.64 Squaxin Island Tribe
- 2.65 Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
- 2.66 Stockbridge Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians
- 2.67 Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
- 2.68 Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona
- 2.69 Tulalip Tribes of Washington
- 2.70 Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota
- 2.71 Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation
- 2.72 White Earth Nation
- 2.73 White Mountain Apache Tribe
- 2.74 Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
- 2.75 Yankton Sioux Tribe
- 2.76 Yomba Shoshone Tribe
- 2.77 Yurok Tribe
- 3 Nations that do not recognize
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Nations that provide legal recognition
In some instances Tribal law has been changed to specifically address same-sex marriage. In other cases, tribal law specifies that state law and state jurisdiction govern marriage relations for the tribal jurisdiction.
The Blackfoot Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana Tribe Law and Order Code: Chapter 3 - Domestic Relations specifies that state law and state jurisdiction governs marriage relations and that neither common-law nor marriages performed under native customs are valid within the Blackfoot Reservation. On November 19, 2014 US District Court Judge Brian Morris struck down Montana's same-sex marriage ban in Rolando v. Fox. In December 2007 a traditional Blackfoot marriage ceremony was held in Seeley Lake, Montana for a Blackfoot two-spirit couple.
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska
The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida peoples in Alaska voted in February 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage on their sovereign lands. The Council will also be responsible for any related divorces that may arise.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Marriage law of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, a united tribe in Oklahoma, makes no specification of the gender of the participants. Based on that, Darren Black Bear and Jason Pickel applied for and received a marriage license on October 18, 2013. Theirs was the third such license issued by the Tribes.
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
In 2008 the Coquille Tribe legalized same-sex marriage, with the law going into effect in May 2009. The law approving same-sex marriage was adopted 5-2 by the Coquille Tribal Council and extends all of the tribal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. To marry under Coquille law, at least one of the spouses must be a member of the tribe. In the 2000 Census, 576 people defined themselves as belonging to the Coquille Nation.
Although the Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to prohibit same-sex marriages, the Coquille are a federally recognized sovereign nation, and thus not bound by the Oregon Constitution. On May 24, 2009, the first same-sex couple—Jeni and Kitzen Branting—married under the Coquille jurisdiction.
Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation
The Law and Order Code of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes, Chapter 5 - Domestic Relations and Adoptions enacted September 13, 1988 provides in Section 2 that all marriages from the day of enactment are to be governed by the laws of the states of Nevada or Oregon, depending on which state they occurred in. As of 19 May 2014, a federal judge overturned a ban on same-sex marriages in Oregon and as of October 9, 2014 same-sex marriages were allowed in Nevada.
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
The Law and Order Code of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Community of Arizona, Chapter 10 - Domestic Relations §10-11 states that all marriages since April 19, 1954, "shall be in accordance with state laws." On October 17, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick ruled that Arizona's same sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
The Grand Portage Band of Chippewa (part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) follow state law with regard to marriages as they "do not have jurisdiction over domestic relations" per the Grand Portgage Judicial Code §1.3.e. Marriage equality began in Minnesota August 1, 2013 after passage of legislation on 13 May 2013.
Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
November 7, 2014 the tribal council of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community voted to place a referendum on the ballot for a tribal vote on December 13, 2014 to allow same-sex marriage in their community, in response to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage. The proposal was approved with 302 to 261 votes on December 13, 2014.
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribal Code, Chapter 30 - Domestic Relations Ordinance at §30.103 provides that marriages by custom and tradition are not recognized and that legal marriages per the ordinance must be in accord with the laws of the states wherein the marriage is consummated or the laws of the State of Wisconsin. §30.104.1 authorizes tribal court judges to perform marriages in accordance with the laws of the State of Wisconsin. On October 6, 2014, the US Supreme Court declined to review a decision overturning Wisconsin's ban of same-sex marriages, paving the way for same-sex marriages to begin.
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
The Family Relations Code of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Title 5 Family Relations Code, Chapter 2 - Marriages establishes at §2.A that the tribe has jurisdiction over all marriages performed within its boundaries and over the marriages of all tribal members regardless of where they reside. §3 defines marriage as a civil contract between two parties who are capable of solemnizing and consenting to marriage. §2.D.2 Requires that the parties declare in the presence of two witnesses, who must sign the declaration, that they take each other as spouses. On November 15, 2013, the first same-sex marriage took place among the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe). The band has the most populous reservation in the state of Minnesota, which had legalized same-sex marriage at the state level earlier in the year.
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians tribal council voted to recognize same-sex marriages on March 5, 2013. The Tribal chairman signed into law the legislation on March 15, 2013, and a male couple was married that day. Same-sex marriages entered into by the sovereign tribe will not be recognized by Michigan, the state where the Little Traverse Bay Bands are based.
Section 13.102C of the Tribal Code states "Marriage means the legal and voluntary union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.
The Connecticut-based Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation's law states that "Two persons may be joined in marriage on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation" without specifying gender. This was a change from the 2008 code, which specified that "A man and a woman may be joined in marriage on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation".
Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
The Marriage Law of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin was revised in May 2015, replacing the phrase "husband and wife" with "spouses", explicitly recognising same-sex marriage. The change comes into effect on June 10, 2015.
Pascua Yaqui Tribe
The Constitution of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Title 5- Civil Code, Chapter 2- Domestic Relations, provides at §2-10 that marriages which are valid at the place where contracted are recognized. Persons 18 and above, or with parental/guardian consent if a minor, shall obtain a license and be joined by an ordained clergyman, minister, or judge. The tribe is located in the state of Arizona, which recognized same-sex marriages as of October 17, 2014.
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced on March 9, 2013, that recognition for same-sex marriages would enter into force on May 8, 2013. They issued their first such marriage certificate to a male couple on June 20, 2013.
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe recognized the passage of Washington State's Referendum-74, which created marriage equality. On December 9, 2012, they offered couples the opportunity to marry at Heronswood Botanical Gardens, which is owned by the tribe, near Kingston, Washington.
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians
Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community
The Tribal Code of Ordinances of the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community of the Salt River Reservation in Arizona, Chapter 10: Domestic Relations §10–30(a) provides that all marriages since April 19, 1954 "shall be in accordance with the state laws." U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick ruled on October 17, 2014, that Arizona's same sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
San Carlos Apache Tribe
According to the Constitution and By-Laws of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona, Section XII all marriages shall be in accordance with the State laws. On October 17, 2014, Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional.
The Suquamish tribe of Washington legalized same-sex marriage on August 1, 2011, following a unanimous vote by the Suquamish Tribal Council. At least one member of a same-sex couple has to be an enrolled member of the tribe to be able to marry in the jurisdiction.
Wind River Indian Reservation
The first same-sex marriage at the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Court (which is the joint court of two federally recognized Native Nations, the Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation and the Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation) on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming was registered on November 14, 2014.
Nations that might have recognition
The federally recognized Native-American Tribes in this section have neutrally worded marriage statutes which do not appear to have been applied to same-sex couples, nor have steps been taken to officially recognize same sex couples, but they are not precluded from recognition. In some cases, valid marriages performed in other jurisdictions are recognized. In some cases their legislation about recognition of out-of-jurisdiction marriages is neutrally worded and could leave the possibilities open to such a recognition. In parallel, the wording of their marriage conditions within jurisdiction is frequently not explicitly excluding same-sex marriages but a few elements of it contains reference to heterosexual marriage such as "husband and wife". In other cases, the wording may also forbid performance explicitly, but not exclude recognition. Some tribes recognize "domestic partnerships" of same sex couples for limited benefits.
Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
The Tribal Code of the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Civil Procedure Chapter Eleven - Family Relations §1101 requires marriages to be recorded for tribal persons regardless of whether they were consummated under tribal custom or in accordance with state law. §1102 requires that marriages must conform to the custom and common law of the Tribe.
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians operates resorts and casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, California. Employees have access to same-sex benefits for domestic partners and as of January 2014 began offering coverage to employees in same-sex marriages.
Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation
The Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana specify in Title 10 of the Family Code, Capter 2 - Marriages under §203 prohibited marriages are limited to those of specific degrees of consanguinity. In §210 tribal recognition is granted to all marriages "duly licensed and performed under the laws of the United States, any Tribe, state, or foreign nation."
Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
The Tribal Code of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Chapter 126 - Marriage at §126.01(c) provides that tribal procedures shall be concurrent with those established by the laws of the State of Wisconsin. Per §126.04 those who may not marry are those of prohibited consanguinity, those who are currently married, those who are incapable of assent and those who have been divorced within the last 6 months. However §126.13 requires that the parties declare to take each other as husband and wife.
Bay Mills Indian Community
Section 1401 of the Tribal Code for the Bay Mills Indian Community states : "The Bay Mills Indian Community shall recognize as a valid and binding marriage any marriage between a man and a woman formalized or solemnized in compliance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which such marriage was formalized or solemnized. Section 1404.B.1. requires for the issuance of a marriage licence that "The parties are a man and a woman (...)".
Blue Lake Rancheria
On October 13, 2001 the Business Council of the Blue Lake Rancheria passed an ordinance which at §6C prohibits marriages contracted by same-sex parties. However, at §13 it states that marriages legally contracted outside the boundaries of the Blue Lake Rancheria are valid within the tribal jurisdiction.
Burns Paiute Tribe of the Burns Paiute Indian Colony
- Section 5.1.31(1) of the Tribal code of Burns Paiute Tribe of the Burns Paiute Indian Colony of Oregon (Harney County, Oregon) states : "All marriages performed other than as provided for in this Chapter, which are valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where and when performed, are valid within the jurisdiction of the Tribe." .
- Section 5.1.34 Marriage Ceremony states: "No particular form of marriage ceremony is required. However, the persons to be married must declare in the presence of the person performing the ceremony, that they take each other as husband and wife, and he must thereafter declare them to be husband and wife.
Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
The Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation in Montana have traditionally respected variant identities. Their Law and Order Code of 1987, Title 5 - Domestic Relations, Chapter 1 - Marriages §1.6 list prohibited marriages as those when one party is currently married, when the specified degree of consanguinity is breached, or when the marriage does not conform with tribal custom or tradition.
Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana
The Constitution and Comprehensive Codes of Justice of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, in Title VI- Family Law, Chapter 2 - Marriage states at §201(a) "For a man and a woman to be married" they must be 16 years of age, be able to give consent, or must obtain parental consent. §202 prohibits marriages within certain degrees of consanguinity and §203 prohibits those with existing spouses from marrying. However, the tribe recognizes as valid common law marriage (§210) or duly licensed marriage (§211) which has been recognized as valid under the laws of the United States, any other tribe, state, or foreign nation.
Colorado River Indian Tribes
The Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation Domestic Relations Code, Article 2 - Marriage and Divorce, Chapter 1 at §2-102.B states "A marriage between a man and a woman licensed, solemnized, and registered as provided in this Chapter is valid." §2-108.A.1 lists prohibited marriages as those in which a party is in an undissolved prior marriage or is within prohibited degrees of consanguinity.
In the Comanche Nation Part 11—Courts of Indian Offenses and Law and Order Code, Subpart F—Domestic Relations shows at §11.600 that both parties must consent, obtain a license, have a tribal custom marriage ceremony, and sign a registry. §11.603 prohibits marriages when one party is currently married and within proscribed degrees of consanguinity.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
The Codified Laws of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (revised April 15, 2003) specify in Title III, Chapter 1 - Domestic Relations at §3-1-101 that the Tribal Court shall have jurisdiction over all marriages of Indians residing on the Flathead Reservation and other consenting parties and that tribal judges or the Tribal Court are authorized to perform ceremonies.
Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians
Section 4-7-6 (c) of the Tribal code of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians (Coos Bay, Oregon) forbids same-sex marriage : "No marriage shall be contracted between parties of the same gender." But section 4-7-13 shows a marriage from another jurisdiction could be recognized : "A marriage contracted outside the territory of the Tribes that would be valid by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted is valid within the territory of the Tribes.".
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
In March 2013 it was reported that the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians from Oregon had introduced a tribal ordinance to pass marriage equality. The ordinance was proposed when Oregon banned same-sex marriage. The measure was to be an "additional option" for tribal members who would retain the ability to marry through the tribe, the State of Oregon, or their state of residence. On May 16, 2014, the governing council of the tribe passed a motion in favor of allowing same-sex couples to legally marry on its reservation, but submitted the measure to tribal consultation before implementation. On May 19, 2014, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon's ban against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon
The Family Law Code of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon (Umatilla County, Oregon) states:
- Section 2.04 Marriage contract; age of parties : "Marriage is a civil contract entered into by persons at least 18 years of age, who are otherwise capable, and solemnized in accordance with section 2.06."
- Section 2.07 Form of solemnization : "No Particular Form Required. In the solemnization of a marriage no particular form is required except that the parties thereto shall assent or declare in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and in the presence of at least two witnesses, that they take each other in marriage."
- Section 2.03(A) Other Jurisdictions : "All marriages performed other than as provided for in the Family Law Code, which are valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where and when performed, are valid within the jurisdiction of the Confederated Tribes, provided further that they are not also in violation of section 2.08(A) (=consanguinity) or 2.08(B) (=bigamy). This includes marriages performed in accordance with other Tribe’s customs and traditions provided that the Tribe whose customs and traditions are asserted as the basis for a finding of marriage recognizes the marriage as valid."
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon
- Section 331.160 Marriages Consummated in Other Jurisdictions of the Tribal Code Book of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon states : "For the purposes of this Chapter a marriage that is valid and legal in the jurisdiction where consummated shall be valid and legal within the jurisdiction of the Tribal Court."
- Section 331.150 Form of Solemnization - Witnesses states : "In the solemnizing of a marriage, no particular form is required, except the parties thereto shall assent or declare in the presence of the minister, priest, or Judge solemnizing the same and in the presence of at least two attending witnesses that they each take the other to be husband and wife." 
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Judicial Codes, Title VIII - Domestic Relations provides in §3 that marriages must conform to tribal custom, in §4 that parties must consent and a ceremony must be performed by an authorized representative in front of witnesses. However, §6 states that a "marriage which is valid under the laws of the State of Louisiana shall be recognized as valid for all purposes by the Coushatta Tribe."
Crow Tribe of Montana
The Crow Tribe of Montana's Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act provides at §10-1-104 that marriage is a consensual relationship between a man and a woman arising out of a civil contract. However, at §10-1-113 it states that marriages which are validly contracted under the laws of the place where they occurred are recognized as valid within the Crow Indian Reservation. It further lists as prohibitions to marriage §1.0-1-110 specific degrees of consanguinity and marriage before dissolving a prior union.
Curyung Tribal Council
The Tribal Code of the Curyung Tribal Council, Title II - Family Law, Chapter 6 - Tribal Marriages provides in Section 1 that the tribe shall uphold the validity of any marriage which was valid under the law of the jurisdiction where it was performed. In Section 2, any party age 18, under 18 with parental/guardian consent, may marry if they are unmarried and the tribe approves.
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, North Carolina - Code of Ordinances, Part II, Chapter 50, family law specifies at §50-1 that the marriage between a man and a woman is recognized if a license is obtained from a register of deeds in their county of residence or the Cherokee Court; however, at §50-2 it states that all marriages will be given full faith and credit by the Eastern Cherokee which have been solemnized according to the laws of North Carolina or any other state or Indian nation. On November 6, 2014, an amendment to Cherokee Code Section 50-1 was submitted to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council to prohibit same sex marriage in their jurisdiction. On 11 December 2014, the resolution passed, but it simply means marriage ceremonies will not be performed within tribal jurisdiction. Since licenses are issued by the state and since the Eastern Cherokee recognize marriages legally performed elsewhere as valid, recognition is assured.
Ely Shoshone Tribe
The Ely Shoshone Tribal Code, Title VII, chapter 122, §122.020.1 states that a male and a female person having obtained the age of 18, who are not within prescribed forbidden consanguinity, and who do not have a living spouse, may marry. §122.110.1 does not require a specific type of ceremony, but requires that the couple declare themselves to take each other as husband and wife.
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Law & Order Code Volume III §6-1-3 provides that all marriages which are valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where and when they were conducted are valid within the jurisdiction of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. §6-1-6 does not require a specific procedure other than that the spouses must take each other as husband and wife and be declared as same by the officiant. §6-1-3 lists specific degrees of consanguinity and bigamy as prohibitions to marriage.
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) Ordinance #04/10, as amended (July 16, 2014) Marriage, Domestic Partnership & Divorce at §301 recognize as valid and binding any marriage between two persons which is formalized or solemnized in compliance with the laws of the place where it was formalized. Chapter 4 recognizes the relationship of two non-married, committed adult partners who have declared themselves as domestic partners provided that it is registered.
Fort Belknap Indian Community
The Fort Belknap Indian Community (aka Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) and Assiniboine (Nakoda) Tribes of Fort Belknap) in their Family Court Act, Part I, §2.1 vests exclusive, original jurisdiction over marriages (and other issues) to the tribal Family Court. At Part VI, §1.3.A.1 allows a license to be issued by the Tribal Court or the State of Montana and §1.3.A.3 provides that a valid marriage exists if a woman and man publicly purport to be wife and husband. Section 2 prohibits marriages wherein one party is already married, within specified degrees of consanguinity, or if the marriage is prohibited by custom of the tribes.
Gila River Indian Community
A report in June 2013 created by the Maricopa Association of Governments listed a 2010 demographic of the Gila River Indian Community. Footnote 5, explaining the category of spouse noted "Responses of "same-sex spouse" were edited during processing to "unmarried partner"." Footnote 6 clarifies that even if the marriages of same-sex couples were performed in jurisdictions accepting same-sex marriage families households in the survey did not include them in the family data.
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Section "10 GTBC § 501 (e)" of the Tribal Code for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians states that “Marriage means the legal union of one (1) man and one (1) woman as husband and wife for life or until divorced”. Section "10 GTBC § 505(a). Recognition of Marriages" of the same code states that "The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians shall recognize as a valid and binding marriage any marriage between a man and a woman, formalized or solemnized in compliance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which such marriage was formalized or solemnized.
The Ho-Chunk Nation Code (HCC), Title 4 - Children, Family, and Elder Welfare Code, Section 10 - Marriage Ordinance (October 19, 2004) provides at 4HCC § 10.3 that marriage is a civil contract requiring consent to create a legal status of husband and wife. 4HCC § 10.4 establishes that any person 16-18 years old with parental consent or any person 18 years or older may marry. 4HCC § 10.5 describes prohibited marriages as those when a person is legally married, within specified degrees of consanguinity, if the person is incapable of consent, or if a party has divorced within the previous 6 months. 4HCC § 10.9 requires that a ceremony be solemnized by an officiant, witnessed by two affiants, and that the parties declare their agreement to be husband and wife.
Hoh Indian Tribe
The Hoh Indian Tribe Code of Conduct, Core Values and Ethical Standards at §18 prohibits harassment or discrimination on the basis of an individual's sex, marital status or sexual orientation, among other listed items.
Hoopa Valley Tribe
The Domestic Code of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in §14A.2.10 states that two consenting persons over the age of 18 may marry if they have lived within reservation boundaries for 90 days. In §14A.2.20 the only prohibited marital unions are specific degrees of consanguinity and a current living spouse. However, §14A.2.40 requires the persons to be married to declare taking each other as husband and wife in the presence of the celebrant and at least two witnesses.
Hopi Indian Tribe
The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe
The Labor Code of the Tribal Code for the The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe under §3.06.05.D.9 provides that the Tribal Family Medical Leave can be extended to care for domestic partners in the same manner as spouses, as long as the employee has registered their domestic partnership and the name of their domestic partner with the Human Resources Director.
The Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance and Workforce Protection Act (adopted April 8, 2013) of the Karuk Tribe provides at §1.3.ee that spouse is defined as a party, widow, or widower to a marriage, other than a common law union, to a Tribal Member recognized by any jurisdiction. §4.1 bans discrimination in employment for a variety of reasons, including sexual orientation and §4.9.a.5a bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in relation to employment, labor or licensing.
The Lummi Nation Code of Laws, Title 11 - Domestic Relations Code (Amended April 7, 2008) provides at §11.01.010 that persons who may marry are of the opposite sex. Prohibited marriages per §11.01.020 are those that would be bigamous, involve prohibited degrees of consanguinity, or when either party is mentally incompetent. Licenses may be issued per §11.01.030 by the Lummi Tribal Court or from the county auditor of any county in the State of Washington. On March 3, 2004, a same-sex marriage between a member of the Lummi Nation occurred in Oregon.
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
The federally recognized Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (also known as aka Anishinaabe, Chippewa and Ojibwe) is composed of six component reservations with their own tribal codes. See individual bands for discussion. Bois Forte Band of Chippewa at Nett Lake; Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Grand Portage Band of Chippewa; Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; White Earth Nation
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Domestic Relations Code of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians at §9‐1‐2 recognizes all marriages which have been legally consummated in another jurisdiction. §9‐1‐4 defines marriage as a personal consensual relationship arising out of a civil contract. Prohibited marriages are those involving incest (§9‐1‐5) or bigamy (§9‐1‐6).
Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut
The Mohegan Sun, a casino located in Uncasville, Connecticut and operated by the Mohegan Indian Tribe has offered domestic partners and dependents of full and part-time employees benefits since March 2001. Since Connecticut's recognition of same-sex marriage November 2008, these benefits have been extended to same-sex married partners.
Morongo Band of Mission Indians
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which runs a tribal casino and hotel in Cabazon, Riverside County, California provides to all employees and their legal spouses, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, health, retirement and other benefits.
Nez Perce Tribe
The Tribal Code of the Nez Perce §4-5-1(o) defines marriage as a civil status of a man and a woman united in law as husband and wife. Further, at §4-5-5(c) the parties must declare, in the presence of the celebrant and at least two witnesses that they take each other as husband and wife. However,the code states that as of a September 12, 2006 amendment, §4-5-2.b that marriages may be within or outside of the Nez Perce Reservation and at §4-5-5.a.1 that ceremonies may be performed by authorized clergy.
Nisqually Indian Tribe
The Tribal Code of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Title 11 - Domestic Relations, at §11.01.01.b provides that the marriage ceremony chosen by the persons who are marrying may be conducted in any reasonable manner, provided they verbally agree to be husband and wife.
Northern Cheyenne Tribe
The Northern Cheyenne Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act at §8-1-5 defines marriage as a personal, consensual relationship between a man and a woman arising out of a civil contract and requires at §8-1-10.D that the parties take each other as husband and wife. However §8-1-10.A valid marriages may be solemnized by a Judge of the Northern Cheyenne Court, a public official authorized to perform marriages, a Justice of the Peace, or in accordance with any religious denomination, Reservation government or native group. Prohibited marriages defined at §8-1-15 include those that would result in bigamy or those of specified degrees of consanguinity.
Oglala Sioux Tribe
The Law and Order Code of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Chapter 3 - Domestic Relations, provides at section 28 that marriage is a consensual personal relationship arising out of a civil contract, which has been solemnized. Per section 30 any tribal member of legal age, or with parental consent if a minor, may obtain a marriage license from the Agency Office, or consummate marriage under authority of license by the State of South Dakota. Voidable or forbidden marriages include incestuous marriages (§31); those obtained if a party is incapable of consent, through fraud, or within prohibited degrees of consanguinity (§32); and those which occur when another spouse is still living (§33).
Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
The Omaha Tribal Code (2013), Title 19 - Domestic Relations indicates at §19-1-2.a that all marriages validly performed in the jurisdiction where and when performed are valid. §19-1-5 provides that during a ceremony of choice, the parties must take each other as husband and wife and the person performing the ceremony must thereafter declare them to be husband and wife. Void and voidable marriages per section §19-1-6 include those within prohibited degrees of consanguinity, those in which a party had a living spouse and those in which a party is incapable of having sexual relations or was forced or coerced.
Oneida Nation of New York
The Oneida Nation of New York's Marriage Code (amended 2004) provides at §103 that a man and a woman may marry if they meet specified requirements. §104 states that those who cannot marry are minors, those with a living spouse, and those within prohibited consanguinity. §107 does not require a specific ceremony but the parties must declare in the presence of the officiant that they take each other as husband and wife. The Oneida Nation recognizes as valid per §111 all valid marriages celebrated outside their territorial jurisdiction.
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
The Law and Order Code of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Title III - Civil Procedure, Chapter Eleven - Family Relations §1101 requires marriages to be recorded for tribal persons regardless of whether they were consummated under tribal custom or in accordance with state law. §1102 requires that marriages must conform to the custom and common law of the Tribe.
During the debates in 2009 for passage of Maine's same-sex marriage legislation, Representative Wayne Mitchell of the Penobscot Nation, who was unable to vote as a tribal representative, urged House members to pass the bill.
Pit River Tribe
The federally recognized Pit River Tribe contains the bands XL Ranch, Big Bend, Likely, Lookout,Montgomery Creek and Roaring Creek Rancherias. According to the Statutes of the Pit River Tribe of California Code, Title 8 - Family/Children's Code, Chapter 3. Marriage, at §202 marriage of a man and a woman requires they are of legal age, or have consent of their parents/guardians, and be capable of consent. §203 describes void marriages as those that would result in bigamy or are between prohibited degrees of consanguinity. §402 does not specify a type of ceremony other than that in the presence of the Judge performing the ceremony, the fianceés must declare that they receive each other as husband and wife. The Pit River Tribal Court shall recognize as valid per §501 all marriages duly licensed and performed under the laws of the United States, any tribe, state, or foreign nation.
Poarch Band of Creeks
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Domestic Code §15-1-4 states that licenses may be issued to tribal members and §15-1-6 requires that parties be of legal age. §15-1-7 describes void marriages as those wherein one party is already married or within prohibited degrees of consanguinity and §15-1-8 states that marriages may be voided if any of the parties were unable to or incapable of consent, if consent was obtained through fraud or force, or if the marriage cannot be consummated.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
The Occupational Injury Ordinance of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska §7-1-4 defines under provision 13 that a domestic partner is "of the same sex or opposite sex." To qualify for limited tribal benefits, a domestic partnership affidavit must be on file with the Tribe. The Law and Order Code, Title IV - Domestic Relations §4-1-4 provides that persons may be married who are 18 (or at 16 with parental consent), when at least one of them is a resident tribal member. However §4-1-6 requires that the parties declare themselves to be husband and wife and that the official pronounce them to be husband and wife. §4-1-7 describes void marriages as those wherein one party is already married or within prohibited degrees of consanguinity and §4-1-8 states that marriages may be voided if any of the parties were unable to or incapable of consent or if consent was obtained through fraud or force.
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
According to the Law and Order Code of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Title 7 - Family Relations, Chapter 1 at §7-1-1 states that marriages, whether consummated in accordance with the State law or in accordance with Tribal law or custom may be recorded by the tribe and at §7-1-2 that the Tribal Court is the sole authority to determine marital status.
Pueblo of San Ildefonso
The San Ildefonso Pueblo Code, Title X - Domestic Relations, Chapter 23 - Marriage and Divorce, provides at §23.1 that all marriages consummated according to State Law or Tribal custom or tradition are valid. §23.4.1 requires licenses be issues to an unmarried male and unmarried female of 18 years or older, or parental permission be obtained. Prohibited marriages per §23.6 are those which would be bigamous, which are within described degrees of consanguinity, and those which are against tribal custom.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
The Law & Order Code of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Title 2 - Domestic Relations, Chapter 4 - Marriage of Tribal Members provides that the tribe assumes jurisdiction on marriage between tribal members, that the tribe and tribal courts are not impeded from recognizing marriages validly entered into in other jurisdictions, and follow tribal custom and tradition "without requirements of oath, affirmation or ceremony or involvement of religious or civil authority."
Sac and Fox Nation
The Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma Code Of Laws, Title 13 - Family, Chapter 1 - Marriage & Divorce requires at §1-01 that marriages consummated in accordance with the State law or in accordance with Tribal law, which involve a native person, must be recorded with the Clerk of the Tribal District Court.
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
According to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Marriage Act of 1995, all marriages that were valid in the place where contracted are recognized by the tribe. Licenses from the tribe are issued to legal adults (or minors with parental consent), and a person may be joined by qualified individuals.
Santee Sioux Nation
The Tribal Code of the Santee Sioux Nation, Title III - Domestic Relations, Chapter 3 - Marriages provides at §3.2.A that a man and a woman can obtain a license on the Santee Sioux Nation Reservation as long as one party is a tribal member, the marriage is performed within the reservation, both parties are at least 18 years old, and all licensing requirements are met. §5 states that the tribe recognizes as valid all marriages performed outside the boundaries of the reservation as long as the marriage was legal in the jurisdiction where celebrated.
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe Family Code §1.2.010 establishes that actions arising under the customs and traditions of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe affecting family and child welfare are within the jurisdiction of the Sauk-Suiattle Family Court. No particular marriage guidelines are stated; however, §3.2.010 defines "spouse" to include common law spouses, which for purposes of this code are "parties to a marriage recognized under tribal custom or parties to a relationship wherein the couple reside together and intend to reside together as a family."
Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
The Workers' Compensation Ordinance for Tribal Employees of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians at §7.11 provides that a "spouse" can be a member of the same sex if the members have cohabited for one year as if they were married prior to any occurrence of injury and are registered at the time of any injury with the State of California Secretary of States' Domestic Partners Registry.
Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe
The Code of Laws of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe Title 20-Family (Modified November 20, 2013) has no provisions for performing marriage ceremonies. At §20.10.060 it provides that a marriage may be invalidated by the Court if it finds that it was contracted by minor party(ies), bigamous, capacity to consent was lacking, prohibited consanguinity existed, or the physical relationship associated with marriage which the parties did not agree to at or prior to the time of entering into the marriage has been lost.
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation
The Law and Order Code of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Chapter 7 - Domestic Relations, at §2.2 that any unmarried male and any unmarried female of the age of 18 years or older, or with parental consent may consent and consummate a marriage. Voidable marriages involve (§2.4) physical incapacity or if consent was obtained by force or fraud, (§2.5 and §2.6) unions breaching prohibited degrees of consanguinity, and (§2.7) marriages that would result in polygamy. §2.12 requires that the parties declare in the presence of the officiant that they take each other as husband and wife. However, §2.2 confirms that all marriages contracted outside of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, which are valid under the law of the state or Country in which they were contracted, are valid in the jurisdiction of the tribe.
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation
The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Code of Law, Chapter 34 - Domestic Relations (approved February 3, 1982) at §34.4.01 defines marriage as a personal consensual relationship arising out of a civil contract which has been solemnized. §34.6.01 states that any member of eligible age of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux tribe or any other Indian Tribe may obtain a marriage license. Voidable marriages according to §34.7.01 include those in which there is incapacity to consent or those in which consent was obtained by force or fraud and defines illegal marriages at §34.8.01 as those which would result in bigamy.
Smith River Rancheria
The Smith River Rancheria Domestic Relations Chapter provides at §5-1-32 that persons seeking to be married must be of the opposite gender and requires at §5-1-34 the persons to be married must declare in the presence of the person performing the ceremony, that they take each other as husband and wife, and he must thereafter declare them to be husband and wife. However, at §5-1-31 is a provision that the tribe accepts as valid all marriages, including common law and customary marriages, which were lawfully established in the jurisdiction where and when they were contracted.
Snoqualmie Indian Tribe
Spirit Lake Tribe
The Spirit Lake Tribe (Formerly known as the Devil's Lake Sioux or Mni Wakan Oyate Tribe) Law and Order Code, Title 9 - Domestic Relations, as amended by Resolution A05-04-159 adopted July 28, 2004 states at §9-1-101 that marriages consummated by tribal custom are valid and legal. §9-1-105 requires that the parties must declare in the presence of the officiant, that they take each other as husband and wife, and must be declared by the officiant to be husband and wife. Void and voidable marriages per §9-1-106 are those within prohibited degrees of consanguinity and those contracted when a party has a currently living spouse.
Squaxin Island Tribe
The Title 8 - Probate Code of the Squaxin Island Tribal Code at §8.01.050 defines spouse as "individuals married to, or registered as a domestic partnership with, the decedent and common law spouses, the latter of which means parties to a marriage that is recognized under Tribal custom or parties to a relationship wherein the couple reside together and intend to reside together as a family." Within the tribal Legal Department Policies and Procedures, Eligibility, Admission and Occupancy Policy, Chapter II Eligibility for Housing, Part A. defines marriage as an acknowledged marriage in any state or tribal jurisdiction, same-sex, and common law marriages.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
The Law and Order Code of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Title V - Family Code provides per §5-101 that a man and a woman can marry provided they are at least 16 years old, with consent of parents or guardians, and freely consent. §5-102 prohibits marriages within specified degrees of consanguinity and §5-103 prohibits bigamous marriage. §5-109 states that any marriage validly contracted in the United States, any tribe, state, or foreign nation shall be "for all purposes" recognized as valid by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Stockbridge Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians
The Stockbridge Munsee Community Tribal Ordinances, Chapter 61 - Marriage, provides at §61.2 a definition that marriage is a consensual civil contract which creates the legal status of husband and wife and §61.3 states that any person age 18 and above, or 16 with consent of a parent or guardian may marry. Invalid or prohibited marriages per §61.4 are those that would be bigamous, those within prohibited degrees of consanguinity, those in which a party is incapable of understanding a marriage relationship, or those in which one of the parties was divorced within the prior 6 months.
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
The Tribal Code of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Title VII - Domestic Relations, Chapter 2 - Marriages, provides at §7-02.010.A that marriage is a consensual personal relationship between two persons arising out of a civil contract. §7-02.020 prohibits marriage if one of the parties is currently married and those within specified consanguinity degree. No particular type of ceremony is required but §7-02.040 stipulates that the parties must take each other to be husband and wife in the presence of a celebrant and two witnesses. §7-02.070.A allows that all marriages which were legally valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where and when contracted are valid within the tribal jurisdiction.
Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona
Title 9, Chapter 1 of the Tohono O'odham Nation (previously known as Papago Law and Order Code Chapter 3, "Domestic Relations") provides that duly licensed applicants over the age of 21, if male, and 18, if female (or with parental consent if a minor), can be married by authorized officiants. Prohibited marriages per section 7 are limited to those within listed degrees of consanguinity.
Tulalip Tribes of Washington
Chapter 4.20 of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington Tribal Code defines domestic relations. §4.20.050 specifies licenses may be issued to persons over the age of 18, of whom one party is a tribal member, who is free of venereal disease, and not within prohibited consanguinity. However, § 4.20.070 states that during the ceremony the parties must take each other as husband and wife and the officiant must declare that they are husband and wife.
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota
The Tribal Code of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Title 9 - Domestic Relations at §9.0701 defines marriage as a contract between a man and woman which has been licensed, solemnized, and registered. Prohibited marriages per §9.0707 are those that would result in bigamy or those wherein the parties are within prohibited degrees of consanguinity. However, per §9.0710 Turtle Mountain recognizes as valid marriages contracted outside its jurisdiction that were valid at the time of the contract or subsequently validated by the laws of the place they were contracted or by the domicile of the parties.
Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation
Title V of the Law and Order Code of the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation §5-1-3 provides that persons 14 and above with parental consent, of whom one of the parties is a tribal member, who are free of venereal disease may marry. §5-1-6 defines void and voidable marriages as those obtained by force or fraud, when a party was already legally married or when a prohibited degree of consanguinity existed. However, §5-1-5 requires the parties to declare that they are husband and wife in the presence of an official.
White Earth Nation
The Family Relations Code of the White Earth Nation (part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) defines only marriages which are voidable. Those include per §3.1.a bigamous marriages, those entered into by minors, and those prohibited by degrees of consanguinity. §3.2 a marriage could be declared voidable if the party lacked capacity to consent, consummate the marriage, or was under age at the time it was entered into.
White Mountain Apache Tribe
According to the White Mountain Apache Domestic Relations Code, chapter 1, § 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, marriage is a solemnized civil procedure between consenting parties, of legal age or with parental consent, in conformity with State (Arizona) or Tribal law, who are free from infectious and communicable diseases and are not prohibited by clan or specified consanguinity.
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska Tribal Code, Title Two - Civil Procedure provides that marriages be recorded and in section 2-1202 that tribal members must conform with the customs and common law of the Tribe.
Yankton Sioux Tribe
Title VII Domestic Relations Code of the Yankton Sioux Tribal Code provides in §7-1-3 provides that persons 14 and above with parental consent, of whom one of the parties is a tribal member, who are free of venereal disease may marry. §7-1-5 requires that they take each other as husband and wife and are declared to be husband and wife by the celebrant. §7-1-6 lists voidable marriages as those in which one party was already married or within prohibited degrees of consanguinity.
Yomba Shoshone Tribe
The Law and Order Code of the Yomba Shoshone Tribe, Chapter 8 - Domestic Relations, holds at §A2 that for a marriage to be valid both parties must consent and §A3 states that any party 16 and older with consent, or any party 18 or above, who does not lack mental capacity or impairment due to substances may marry. §A5e requires that a certificate containing a statement that the parties consent to the establishment of the relationship of husband and wife must be signed by the parties, the officiant and two witnesses. §A7 confirms that marriages entered into outside the tribal jurisdiction will be considered valid by the tribe, if they were valid where obtained. §B2 provides that marriages entered into under tribal custom are valid.
The Tribal code of the Yurok Tribe defines marriage as the union of two individuals by any ceremony or practice recognized under Yurok law. Under prohibited unions in section 3.2 the only impediments are a living spouse or a relative within specific degrees of consanguinity.
Nations that do not recognize
May 13, 2004, a lesbian couple applied for a marriage license and were approved by a Cherokee Nation tribal court deputy clerk. On May 14, 2004 Judicial Appeals Tribunal Chief Justice Darrell Dowty issued a moratorium on further same-sex licenses. On May 18, 2004, the couple were married in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but their request to register their certificate of marriage was refused. On June 11, 2004 the Tribal Council's attorney, as a private party, filed an objection to the issuance of the application and on June 16, 2004 filed an injunction to nullify the marriage. On June 14, 2004, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council passed a law specifically banning same-sex marriages.
The couple filed a motion for decision in November 2004. On December 10 their motions to dismiss, quash and for summary judgment were denied by the Cherokee District Court and they appealed to the Judicial Appeals Tribunal of the Cherokee Nation (JAT) on Dec. 17. In June 2005 the JAT set a trial date of August 2 to determine the standing of the Tribal Council attorney to file as a private individual. On August 3, 2005, the JAT ruled there was no standing to sue and no individual harm was suffered by legal recognition of the same-sex marriage.
The following day, 15 Tribal Councilors filed a petition to prevent the couple from filing their marriage certificate with the tribe. On December 22, 2005, the JAT dismissed the injunction again citing that council members could not demonstrate individual harm or affect in any way by recording the marriage.
On January 6, 2006, Cherokee Nation Court Administrator filed a petition stating that recording the marriage certificate would violate the tribal law defining marriage as that of a man and a woman. On March 8, 2006 the couple filed a motion to dismiss the third challenge as their marriage had occurred prior to the change to the law defining marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Though the State of Oklahoma same-sex marriage ban was overturned January 14, 2014 by a ruling from U.S. District Judge Terence Kern, the petition before the JAT remained unanswered.
Section 6-101.6.A of the laws of the Chickasaw Nation asserts that "Marriage means a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between members of the opposite sex to which the consent of parties legally competent of contracting and of entering into it is necessary, and the Marriage relation shall be entered into, maintained or "abrogated as provided by law". Section 6-101.9 of the same asserts that "A Marriage between persons of the same gender performed in any jurisdiction shall not be recognized as valid and binding in the Chickasaw Nation as of the date of the Marriage".
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Kalispel Indian Community
The Kalispel Indian Community Law and Order Code (revised October 29, 2014), Chapter 8, Domestic Relations at §8-1.03.3 defines marriage as a personal relationship between two persons of the opposite sex, at §8-2.01 states that licenses may only be issued if the persons are of the opposite sex, and at §8-2.04 provides that while no particular ceremony must be followed, the parties must state that they take each other as "husband and wife" and the officiant must declare that they are "husband and wife."
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
The Marriage and Divorce Ordinance (Revised February 26, 2011) of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma at §A.2 specifies marriage must be between parties of the opposite sex, §A.3 states that a person can only be married to one person of the opposite sex, and at §A.12 prohibits the tribal court from issuing a license or conducting a marriage between the same-sex.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
Same-sex marriage is not valid under Navajo law. It was explicitly prohibited in a nation code amendment from April 22, 2005, which was vetoed by Navajo president Joe Shirley, Jr. That veto was overridden by the Navajo Nation Council.
On April 12, 2012 at the 4th Session of the 2nd Congress of the Osage Nation, Bill #ONCA 12-53 to establish marriage, dissolution and child support procedures for the Osage jurisdiction was passed. At Chapter II, §5 marriage is defined as a personal relationship between a man and a woman arising out of a civil contract. Further, at §8 entitled "Marriage Between Persons of Same Gender Not Recognized" the law provides that same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions shall not be recognized as valid by the tribe. On 20 April, 2015, Osage Nation Congresswoman Shannon Edwards introduced a marriage equality bill.
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
Tribal Code, Title 6 - Family Relations of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa specifies at §6-1203.c that same-gender marriages are prohibited and that only opposite-gender couples may marry.
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe
The law of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians notes that "requirements of the State of Michigan with respect to the qualifications entitling persons to marry within that State's borders, whether now in existence or to become effective in the future, are hereby adopted, both presently and prospectively, in terms of the sex of the parties to the proposed marriage" (Art. 31.104). Michigan does not allow same-sex marriages. However, it was briefly legal before the ruling that stated Michigan's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional was stayed. The ruling was later overturned by the Sixth Circuit. Opposite-sex marriage is recognized by the tribal nation but the law doesn't say whether or not same-sex marriage is recognized or not.
The Code of Laws of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma Title 13A, Chapter 2 (revised July 28, 2012) specifies at §104-f that persons of the same gender will not be allowed to marry or divorce and further clarifies under 110-4 that marriages which are invalid on one of the grounds set forth in Section 104 are subject to being voided or annulled by the Tribal District Court.
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