According to just-released draft minutes, the tribal council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan became the third tribal nation in the U.S. to pass a marriage equality statute this week. Under consideration by the tribal council since last March, the new statute will allow the tribe to both recognize and perform same-sex marriage. A similar measure failed last July by one vote. When the measure was first proposed, former Odawa Council Chairman Ken Harrington defended the equality effort:
HARRINGTON: We have our own constitution, our own court system, and our own government here, police force, etc, DNR, so it’s our right to express equality… In my mind, we’re all equal in our creator’s eye.
Marriage equality at Little Traverse is the latest in a larger movement by tribal members and tribal leaders to pass marriage equality measures. In fact, a new tribal LGBT equality toolkit was just released last fall to help tribal leaders incorporate comprehensive protections for LGBT people and families into their tribal codes. The Indigenous Ways of Knowing program, which released the toolkit, is now working on implementing with interested tribal leaders and their governments.
Our guest blogger is Erik Stegman, Manager for the Half in Ten campaign.