Cherokee Nation legalizes same-sex marriage

TIM TALLEY | Associated Press

great_seal_of_the_cherokee_nation_tile_coasterOKLAHOMA CITY — The Cherokee Nation’s attorney general legalized gay marriage for the country’s second-largest Native American tribe, saying its same-sex marriage ban violates a tribal requirement for all of its citizens to be treated equally.

Attorney General Todd Hembree’s opinion, which was issued Dec. 9, says parts of a 2004 tribal law that defined marriage as “a civil contract between one man and one woman” and prohibited marriage between two persons of the same sex violate the Cherokee Constitution, which requires the equal treatment of tribal citizens.

“The right to marry without the freedom to marry the person of one’s choice is no right at all,” Hembree wrote in his opinion.

Tribal Assistant Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo said Monday, Dec. 12, that the opinion carries the force of law and legalizes same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples who are members of the Oklahoma-based tribe, which has about 300,000 members.

The Cherokee Nation was among 11 of the nation’s 567 federally recognized tribes that had explicit bans on gay marriage.

Nimmo said the sovereign laws of the Cherokee Nation and other tribes were not directly affected by last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and that Indian tribes are the only remaining governments in the U.S. that can prohibit or legalize same-sex marriage. But the Cherokee Nation Constitution contains similar due process and equal protection guarantees as the U.S. Constitution, rights that are reflected in the tribal opinion, she said.

“It’s a very similar decision to that of the United States Supreme Court,” she said.

The tribe’s same-sex marriage ban was part of the Cherokee Nation Marriage and Family Act that was approved unanimously by the tribal council. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, who was a member of the tribal council at the time and voted for the measure, did not respond to a phone message Monday seeking comment.

Hembree’s opinion was requested by the director of the tribe’s tax commission, who had asked whether the tribe could issue a vehicle tag to a same-sex couple married outside the tribe’s jurisdiction. The couple is not identified in the opinion.

The matter arose when a person who was recently married outside the tribe’s jurisdiction offered a marriage certificate issued to her and another woman as proof of her identity, according to the ruling. The commission was unsure whether it could accept the same-sex marriage certificate in light of the tribe’s prohibition of same-sex marriage.

“We were having to deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis,” Nimmo said. “Administratively and practically, it makes things easier.”

—  Tammye Nash

Did Indian Director Onir Sexually Assault (Possibly Gay) Dunno Y Star Yuvraaj Parashar?

At first we thought Bollywood actor Yuvraaj Parashar was disowned by his family for starring in Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun, where he played a gay man in what's been dubbed India's Brokeback Mountain. But is Parashar actually a gay man IRL? In defending the single-name Indian film director Onir — whose films tackled everything from AIDS to gays to abuse — against rumors that he sexually molested Parashar, gay activist Ashok Row Kavi has outed the actor. Or is Parashar's sexuality one big open secret? And are these sexual assault claims legit?


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Thousands Celebrate Gay Pride In Indian Capital

About 2,000 people marched in Delhi's gay pride parade today, the first such march since India legalised homosexuality in 2009.

 The Hindustan Times reports on the parade:

IndiaAccording to the organisers, the crowd at this time's parade was much larger than the previous two as it was the first one after the Delhi High Court's historic judgment decriminalising consensual homosexual relationships.

"Not only lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders participated, many other people also came out. The most heartening thing is that families of many members of LGBT community also came to support them. Slowly things are changing," said Mohnish Malhotra, one of the organisers.

However, he said the march was not just about celebration but a protest against discrimination faced by the LGBT community.

"We are protesting against discrimination faced by the LGBT community. The community is often subjugated to violence by police and thugs. They are blackmailed and forced into marriage by families, which leads to suicides," he said.

"It is a big celebration after the Delhi High Court judgement last year. It is the biggest turnout. By looking at it we know that things are changing. It's a great feeling to be yourself and not pretend to be someone else," said Mahashweta Das, one of the participants.

Also, Pepsi has produced a gay-themed television ad that is currently running in India. Watch that video (sorry I haven't been able to find an English translation), AFTER THE JUMP.

Towleroad News #gay

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2 White Guys Chase Down an Indian In This Romantic ‘Gay Hoe’ Love Story

I'm not really sure what to make of British (wedding videographer by day) Ian Burnett's "Gay Hoe" video, a take on Slumdog Millionaire's infectious track. But it's a dinner plan-cum-dream sequence and features two gents hunting their prey.


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—  John Wright