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Oklahoma City men are second gay couple issued marriage license by Indian tribe

Two Oklahoma City men were recently granted a marriage license by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Concho. They are the second gay couple to receive one from the tribe in the last year.
by Andrew Knittle Published: October 23, 2013

Black Bear's father, a minister, will officiate the wedding.

“We've been together almost nine years ... and we've been thinking about this for a while,” Black Bear said. “It's been surreal.”

Lieb said the tribe will issue a marriage license to anybody who lives within the tribes' jurisdiction and is of American Indian descent.

AG's office has no comment

The impact of the gay marriages — and how the unions will be viewed under Oklahoma law — is not clear.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples will receive equal treatment from the federal government, striking down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. The act had denied federal benefits to gay couples, specifically those married under state laws.

In 2004, Oklahomans voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage. The state's constitution now expressly prohibits same-sex marriages.

Diane Clay, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma attorney general's office, said the agency would not comment about the marriages at this time.

Paula Ross, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Tax Commission, said gay couples can't file as “married” in Oklahoma, regardless of the change in federal law.

“Since Oklahoma doesn't recognize same-sex marriages ... the Tax Commission is not accepting same-sex couples' tax returns,” Ross said. “Our constitution says it's a man and a woman.”

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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