Oklahoma gay couple's same-sex wedding set for Halloween after receiving tribal approval

OKLAHOMA CITY - Two Oklahoma City men who have garnered international attention are hours away from getting married in their home state.

Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear began seeing each other nine years ago. Both say they knew they would marry one another after two years in their relationship.

"We're just a normal little couple," Pickel said.

A couple that found a way to circumvent Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

In September, Pickel called the headquarters for the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe, to which Black Bear belongs and asked if they could be married there.

"They said 'Yes, of course you can'," he said. "That's it."

Cheyenne and Arapaho law does not define marriage based on gender, and the tribe's Bill of Rights specifically prohibits the discrimination of a person "based on age, gender, religion, disability, familial status, sexual orientation, or social or economic status."

MORE: Read the tribe's Bill of Rights (http://bit.ly/1bEqMlv)

Same-sex marriage isn't new to the tribe either -- two other couples have been wed on Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal grounds.

Not everyone in the tribe is comfortable with the practice of marrying same-sex couples in a state that has historically been staunchly opposed to it. Cheyenne and Arapaho Chief of Staff Ida Hoffman in particular has been vocal on the issue, citing her belief in God.

Despite the opinions of some within the tribe, as well as a substantial amount of non-Indian Oklahomans, the couple has no plans to put a stop to their day.

"I'm not going to worry about anything that can be negative," he said. "It's not going to ruin our day."

Pickel and Black Bear, who received their marriage license Oct. 18, are now waiting to have it officially signed at the Halloween wedding.

"It was supposed to be a very quiet event," Pickel said. "Just the fact that the world is looking at us is amazing."

Both Pickel and Black Bear say they were always hopeful they might one day be able to get married in Oklahoma. Pickel, specifically, believes residents of the Sooner state are undergoing a change of heart on the hot-button issue.

"I hope it comes up for a vote, at the next time we're allowed to vote," he said. "I truly feel with the amount of support we've had, it might actually pass."

The wedding, scheduled to take place at an undisclosed location, will be officiated by Black Bear's father.

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