Cherokee Nation legal opinion recognizes same-sex marriages

Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree. Photo courtesy Cherokee Nation

A legal opinion issued by the Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation requires the Oklahoma-based tribe to recognize same-sex marriages.

In 2004, the tribal council passed the Cherokee Nation Marriage and Family Act to define marriage as a union between "one man and one woman." The law specifically outlaws marriages between "parties of the same gender."

But Attorney General Todd Hembree said the law violates the Cherokee Constitution. Tribal citizens should be free to marry the person of their choice, he wrote in the 12-page opinion.

"The right to marry without the freedom to marry the person of one’s choice is no right at all," the opinion stated.

The opinion goes into effect immediately by declaring provisions of the Cherokee Nation Marriage and Family Act as "null and void." But a member of the tribal council told The Tulsa World that he anticipates further discussion on the issue.

Dozens of tribes have recognized same-sex marriages, according to Wikipedia. Same-sex marriages are recognized in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Read More on the Story:
Cherokee Nation attorney general: Tribe must OK gay marriage (AP 12/12)
Cherokee Nation attorney general says tribe must recognize same-sex marriages (The Tulsa World 12/10)
Cherokee Nation’s attorney general ends ban on same-sex marriage (KFOR 12/10)

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