Odawa Indians Perform First Michigan Same-Sex Marriage
By Crystal A. Proxmire and wire reports
Originally printed 3/21/2013 (Issue 2112 - Between The Lines News)
After thirty years as a couple, Tim LaCroix, 53, of Boyne City, and his partner Gene Barfield, 60, originally of Long Island, New York became the first same-gender couple to marry in Michigan thanks to new recognition of same-sex marriage by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
The two met when they were both serving in the Navy and are military veterans. Under the new Odawa statue, at least one partner must be a member of the tribe. LaCroix is a citizen of the LTBB, a federally recognized Native American tribe.
The Petoskey News first reported that on March 3 the tribe voted 5-4 to allow same-gender marriages. Native American tribes are sovereign states and may govern themselves independently of Michigan and U.S. government. They are the third native nation to allow gay marriage, joining the Coquille Tribe of Oregon (2009) and Suquamish Tribe in Washington (2011).
"Nationwide and statewide, same-sex (marriage) seems to be becoming a more important issue everyday," said Odawa Tribal Chairman McNamara to the Petoskey News, before signing the new marriage statute. "I think real soon we are going to see a real change in the laws that are being passed."
LaCroix and Barfield were married the same morning that the tribal chairman signed the legislation into law. On a cold, sunny morning, both men wore casual open-necked shirts and white sweaters with flowers attached for the ceremony.
"After reciting pledges to each other, they were presented with a slender maple limb bent into a hoop that represents the four stages of life. Using ribbon of different colors, they knotted sacred plants -- tobacco, cedar, sage and sweetgrass -- to the wood," according to wire reports.
The couple lives in Boyne City on a 30-acre farm that has been in LaCroix's family for generations. LaCroix told CNN, "We didn't want to go to another state to get married. We always wanted to have the wedding here in the state of Michigan. It's our home."
The relationship is still not recognized by the State of Michigan due to the 2004 Constitutional amendment that prohibits recognition of same-gender couples for any purpose.
"The Michigan Constitution defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriages performed in other states, countries, or in sovereign tribal nations are not valid in the state of Michigan," said Joy Yearout, spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Michigan ACLU Attorney Jay Kaplan reflected on the news noting it shows the great progress and momentum that is happening with marriage equality. "Of course the tribe has its own jurisdiction and like other marriages between same sex couples in other states, Michigan will not recognize this marriage, nor will the federal government currently under DOMA. However, the symbolism of this development and the tribe treating same-sex couples with dignity and fairness cannot be overlooked," said Kaplan.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) absolves the state of having to recognize same-gender marriages performed in other states or countries, which includes those in native sovereignties. The legality of DOMA will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court next week.
- Races To Watch On Election Night
- Pastors Declare Challenge To Civil Rights For Michigan LGBT Community
- Revealing Bigotry: Taking On Gary Glenn
- MOASH Awarded Federal Funding To Improve Outcomes For LGBT Youth In Michigan
- Marriage Equality: 'It's Coming' Say LGBT Advocates
- Richard Bernstein: The Face Of Blind Justice
- Dave Agema: Arab Fighter Pilots Are 'Camel Jockeys'
- Ally vs. Extremist: McKenzie Seeks 11th District Win
- WMU To Award LGBT Alumna At Homecoming Event
- Ann Arbor Adopts Updated Non-Discrimination Ordinance
- Upcoming Mental Health Training Is Joined By Sex Therapist
- Co-Founder Awards Substantial Gift To Equality Michigan
- Michigan Roundtable To Honor Michigan Social Justice Advocates
- LGBT Jewelry Collection Comes To Tapper's
- Mark Totten Seeks Attorney General Seat, Speaks On Schuette
- MSHDA Under Investigation, Snyder Fundraiser Raises Questions
- Launch Of The 2014 Michigan Voter Guide
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- Oakland County Health Division
- Air Conditioning/Heating
- AAC Services Heating, Cooling & Refrigeration
- Auto Collision
- Autometric Body Shops
- Joe Kort, Ph.D. & Associates, PC
- Families and Parents
- Coalition for Adoption Rights Equality, Inc. (CARE)
- Hotlines & Switchboards
- Michigan Department of Community Health Cancer Hotline
- Moving Companies
- Two Men and a Truck
- Religious & Spiritual
- Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church
- Fellowship United Methodist Church
- Fox Theatre
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Q&A: Annie Lennox On Her Legacy, Why Beyonce Is 'Feminist Lite'
- Q&A: Getting To The Core Of Nick Jonas: Abs, Album & That Gay Striptease 'They Made Me Do'
- Q&A: Lisa Kudrow On Judging 'Drag Race' (As Valerie Cherish!) & Gays Being Biologically 'Superhuman'
- GOP Hopeful Wants 'Christians' Fleeing MI If Gays Get Civil Rights
- Creep of the Week: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
MICHIGAN - A recent study by Affirmations Community Center and the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), facilitated eight focus groups with LGBT-identified individuals that helps shed light on tobacco use within the LGBT community.View More Health and Wellness
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!