poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Cherokees ban gay marriage
Unanimous vote follows last minute change to agenda
Sam Lewin

The Cherokee Nation’s tribal council has unanimously voted to ban same sex marriage. The vote was 15-0 and followed comments made by Chief Chad Smith in the wake of the controversy, which began when two women asked for and received a marriage license from the tribe last month. Tulsa residents Dawn McKinley, 32, and Kathy Reynolds, 27, are both members of the tribe. The couple says they have been together for four years and live together in Owasso. Smith said he was opposed to tribally approved same sex marriage and a moratorium on those unions was imposed almost immediately.

The tribal council vote took place after the agenda was altered to make room for it just before the meeting began.

Cherokee gay-rights activist David Cornsilk said it was his idea to have the women apply for the license in Tahlequah since they could not afford to fly to Massachusetts, which has granted thousands of such licenses. Cornsilk said he was not surprised by the Cherokee decision.

“ I expected it-that’s what they do-they overreact and they do things under a cloak of darkness and secrecy,” Cornsilk said, referring to the 11th hour addition that allowed the council to vote on the issue.


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