Thursday, January 05, 2006
Cherokee Nation Recognizes Gay Marriage
Reuters: The top crt of the Cherokee Nation has declined to strike down a gay marriage in what is seen as a pioneering case in American Indian country. Cherokee tribal members Kathy Reynolds, 29, and Dawn McKinley, 34, married in May 04 just wks after the city of San Francisco ignited a natl debate on gay marriage. B/c tribal law at the time allowed same-sex marriages, a tribal clerk gave them a wedding certificate. But members in the Tribal Council sued, saying the marriage would damage the reputation of the Cherokees, and the law was later changed. In a Dec 22 decision announced on Jan 4, the Judicial Appeals Tribunal of the Cherokee Nation, the tribe's highest crt in Tahlequah, OK, rejected the request for an injunction against the marriage: "Members of the Tribal Council, like private Cherokee citizens, must demonstrate a specific particularized harm. In the present case, the Council members fail to demonstrate the requisite harm," the crt ruled. Historians say Native Amer culture, before the arrival of European settlers, tolerated homosexuality, although the settlers' religious teachings ultimately turned the tribes against it. "Cherokees are very private where they respect each other and respect how they live. Since the tribe has become so Westernized and adopted Christian religions and European ways, they strayed away from traditional Cherokee values of indifference," Reynolds told Reuters. Imagine all that will ya? Organized religion turning a formally tolerant people into hateful bigots. Shocking! The real crisis? The Cherokee Nation has sovereign nation status and American tribes have a history of tolerance toward gay members. And since OK usually recognized tribal marriage applications OK will now have to sit back and have silent fundamentalist fits over this, until they decide to try to mess w/Indian Nation sovereignty... & that would get ugly.