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Osage Nation passes referendum to legalize same-sex marriage

A sign on the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. Photo: Jimmy Emerson

The Osage Nation has joined the marriage equality movement.

Voters of the Oklahoma-based tribe approved a referendum on Monday that defines marriages as a union between "two persons." Tribal law previously restricted marriages to a "man and a woman."

“This was overdue,” Jennifer Tiger told The Osage News, the tribe's newspaper, of a referendum passed that by a vote of 1,208 to 252, according to the results. “The United States Supreme Court recognized gay marriage two years ago. This was long overdue.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that requires all states to legalize same-sex marriages and to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The 2013 ruling in U.S. v. Windsor required the federal government to recognize all marriages.

Neither ruling, however, applies to tribal governments and several tribes in Oklahoma outlaw same-sex marriages. The top legal official of Cherokee Nation recently issued an opinion stating that same-sex marriages are legal.

Read More on the Story:
Osage Nation votes ‘yes’ for gay marriage (Osage News 3/20)
Two Osage Nation Questions Pass (Bartlesville Radio 3/21)
Osage Nation approves ballot over gay marriage (KTUL 3/20)
Osage Nation voters approve same-sex marriage ballot question (The Tulsa World 3/20)
Cherokee Tribal Member Wants Tribe To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage (News9 3/20)

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