Native American Men Hold Oklahoma’s First Gay Wedding
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OKLAHOMA CITY (CBS Houston) – The first same-sex marriage has been performed in Oklahoma, even though the state officially bans them.
Jason Pickel married his long-time boyfriend Darren Black Bear on Indian land.
The couple had intended to go to Iowa, where same-sex unions are legal, but when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense Of Marriage Act, they changed their plans.
Pickel tells KOCO-TV he called Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal leaders and asked permission to marry.
“I was really expecting a big no,” said Pickel. “I thought we’re on our way to Iowa, but I called the tribe and they said, ‘Yeah come on down, it’s twenty bucks.'”
Tribal code requires both participants be of Native American descent and live within the tribe’s jurisdiction.
Nowhere does it specify gender.
And because the ceremony was on tribal land, state laws don’t apply.
While they are happy to be the first publicly recognized gay wedding in Oklahoma, they still hope for more.
“When we have equality in all 50 states and all U.S. territories that is when we’ll have true equality,” said Pickel. “That’s when I will be truly, truly happy.”
The couple can file for federal tax credits benefiting couples.
They plan on holding an open wedding celebration on Halloween.