Applaud American Indian Tribal Nation for Supporting Marriage Equality

Target: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Goal: Thank tribe for passing a marital equality statute.

In July of 2012, the Little Traverse Bands of Odawa Indians introduced a marital equality statute, but at the time, it lost by one vote. Former council chairman Ken Harrington said at the time, ““We have our own constitution, our own court system, and our own government, police force, [and] Department of Natural Resources, so it’s our right to express equality. In my mind, we’re all equal in our creator’s eye.” Now, the council has voted on the legislation again and, this time, it has decided to support marriage equality.

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians is actually the third tribal nation to recognize marriage equality. The Coquille of Southern Oregon and the Suquamish of Washington State have also passed legislation in favor of same-sex marriage. The group Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK) works to educate people in various tribes about issues pertaining to gay rights and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.

The indigenous people of the First Nations have long been the subject of discussion by gender studies scholars because, unlike European-American society with its history of coded gender and sexual roles, many First Nations tribes regard gender identity and sexuality as manifesting in a multiplicity of ways. “Two-Spirit” is an umbrella category for a third gender identity consisting of people who have mixed gender expression that cannot neatly be categorized as “male,” or “female.” This can extend to same-sex attraction. Two-spirited people have been identified in more than 130 tribes.

Sign this petition to thank the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians for acknowledging the rights of same-sex couples to marry, and let’s hope that these First Nations communities will set the precedent for the rest of America.


Dear Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,

I am writing to thank you for the recent legislation you have passed in support of the marriage rights of Two-Spirits within your community. I support Ken Harrington’s statement that all people are created equal, and I am very glad that you have chosen to recognize this fact through your own governmental laws. I know that you are the third tribe which has made marriage equality into law, and I hope that many other tribes will follow your example.

The federal government of the United States itself could stand to follow in your footsteps. All consenting adults should have the right to marry their partners of choice, and we can only hope for the day when more of the world has reached the understanding about social equality which your tribal community already has. Truly, you are an inspiration.


[Your Name Here]

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