Bil Browning

WA Indian Tribe Approves Marriage Equality

Filed By Bil Browning | August 02, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, Suquamish, Washington

The Suquamish Tribal Council unanimously decided to honor and perform same-sex marriages yesterday. The tribe will change their marriage ordinance to allow the tribal court to issue a marriage license to any couple "regardless of their sex" as long as one member of the couple is a tribal member and they both are above the age of 18.

During that meeting of the tribe's entire enrolled membership, [Heather Purser] stepped to the microphone asking for recognition for gay couples. The tribe's leadership said they would continue to consider it, she said.

When Purser sat down people around her told her she needed to get up again and request a vote of the entire audience.

"One of my cousins said, 'They're just going to keep dragging their feet,'" Purser said.

She once again made her request, this time asking for a vote and expecting some opposition. "I was expecting a major fight. I didn't think anyone would support me," she said.

If there were any dissenters, they were not loud enough for Purser to hear them.

The Coquille Indian Tribe in Coos Bay, OR became the first Indian tribe to perform a same-sex marriage in 2009. The Suquamish are best known for their leader Chief Seattle for whom the state capital was named.

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Great news! I love that this is the way the tribe decided - just by an impromptu vote.

This is wonderful. Hadn't heard about the Coquille Indian Tribe before either. BTW, Seattle is not the capital of the State, that is Olympia. Seattle is the largest city...

More good news on the equality front...always nice to learn of that.