Leonard Forsman: Marriage law shows Suquamish tribal values

"Last month, the Suquamish Tribal Council amended its existing Marriage and Divorce Ordinance to permit marriages regardless of the couple's gender. The amendment passed by a unanimous vote of the council and allows same-sex couples to receive the same treatment and benefits as opposite-sex couples. At least one person entering the marriage must be an enrolled member of the Suquamish Tribe. The amendment also provides for tribe members in civil unions entered in recognized jurisdictions to convert the union into a Suquamish Tribal marriage.

The issue of sexual orientation is not controversial in the Suquamish community. I have found no mention of sexual orientation as an issue in my research of the Tribe's oral history or in non-Indian archival data. Some elders have stated that traditional views on same-sex interactions suggested that these individuals may have possessed unique spiritual associations. Research indicates that sexual orientation was probably not an area of great moral concern or discussion in Suquamish society before interaction with non-Indians. That same cultural value remains within the community today."

Get the Story:
Leonard Forsman: Same-Sex Marriage Law Reflects Suquamish Tribal Values (JURIST Hotline 9/14)

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