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Keweenaw Bay Indian Community backs marriage equality law

Tribal members voted in an election last December that asked whether they supported same-sex marriage. The non-binding referendum passed by a vote of 302 to 261. Photo by Lauri Denomie / The Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Michigan adopted a new marriage ordinance on Saturday.

The ordinance recognizes all marriages on the reservation. It comes after tribal members endorsed marriage equality in a non-binding referendum last December.

"Love should have no barriers," former council member Carole LaPointe, who pushed for the referendum, told Houghton Daily Mining Gazette. "If a woman loves a woman or a man loves a man, it shouldn't matter. It's no different for a woman and a man.

At least 23 tribes recognize same-sex marriage, according to Wikipedia. But Michigan does not, the Gazette noted.

That could change when the U.S. Supreme Court to issue decisions in a series of same-sex marriage cases. The outcome could force all states to recognize marriages that are legal in other jurisdictions.

The case, however, won't necessarily apply to the actions of tribal governments but observers believe it could pressure them to address the issue.

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KBIC legalizes tribally sanctioned same-sex marriage (The Houghton Daily Mining Gazette 6/10)

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