Cherokee Nation to accept same-sex marriages within the tribe

Posted at 4:02 PM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 17:07:24-05

TAHLEQUAH, Ok. - Same sex marriages within the Cherokee Nation tribe were approved Friday, according to a release of the opinion set forth by the tribe's attorney general.

In part, Hembree said it is the official opinion of the attorney general that the Cherokee Nation Constitution protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children and enjoy the full protection of the Nation's marital laws, which puts the stamp of approval on two people of the same gender.

Hembree further stated that the Nation may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union. He said the part of the marriage and family act in the constitution that defines marriage as "a civil contract between one man and one woman," is unconstitutional. 

Hembree said that this opinion will remain until a differing opinion or order is entered by a Cherokee Nation Court.

He said because of this opinion presented Friday, the Cherokee Constitution will afford all Cherokee citizens the right to marry, regardless of sexual orientation, and that the Cherokee Nation and its entities must recognize validly-issued civil unions, same-sex marriages and same-sex domestic partnerships from other jurisdictions for purpose of services, program and benefits.


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