Native American
9:54 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Gay Marriage Comes To Oklahoma

Despite Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, a gay couple will be legally married in the state thanks to one man's bloodline.

Darren Black Bear is a member of the Oklahoma-based Cheyenne Arapaho Tribes. It's among the few Native American tribes in the U.S. that allow same-sex marriage.

He plans to marry his partner of nine years, Jason Pickel, on Thursday. Like gay couples who legally marry in other states, they won't be awarded state benefits given to married couples in Oklahoma but they will qualify for federal marriage benefits.

All federally recognized tribes can approve laws for their land and members. The Cheyenne Arapaho's code regarding marriage doesn't specifically address gender, referring to the parties simply as "Indians."

Black Bear and Pickel say they hope other tribes adopt similar laws.