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Allow Full Benefits for SameSexMarriages of NativeAmericanTribalMembers

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Two Native American Tribes, as of now, have declared Same-Sex Marriages will be performed on Tribal lands: these Tribes are the COQUILLE in Coos Bay, Oregon, in 2009; and the SUQUAMISH, the "people of Chief Seattle", in Kitsap County, Washington; whose Tribal Council voted UNANIMOUSLY for Same-Sex Marriage on August 1, 2011. A number of other Tribes are currently considering such proposals; undoubtedly more will do so in future.

Whether all Tribal members realize it or not, Same-Sex Marriage has held a HISTORIC AND WELL-RESPECTED AND HONORED TRADITIONAL PLACE on the American Continent, long before the coming of Europeans to the Americas; as original accounts by early explorers, as well as of missionaries, and Anthropological studies, show. Many tribes have lost such traditions, and even memories of them, due to "shaming" by missionary teachers of their children; it is impossible to say that ALL tribes had such traditions of Same-Sex Marriage, but it is absolutely CERTAIN that SOME of them did. There are even Photographs from the turn-of-the-century, of such family members. {Dressed in the clothes of the gendered role they played in society and in their marriages; not necessarily dressed according to the biological sex they were born with.} The European-Americans of the time, didn't know quite what to make of these "strange" people! and what appeared to the un-nerved Europeans as their "extreme lack of propriety"!

According to State Representative Jamie Pedersen, because of a Bill recently passed in the Washington State Legislature, marriages conducted in jurisdictions outside Washington get recognition as registered domestic partnerships in the state, with all the rights of opposite-sex marriages. This would include marriages conducted on Suquamish tribal lands, because the tribe is a Sovereign Entity, and is not legally under Washington state law. the eyes of the federal government, the Suquamish ordinance has a similar status to state laws that permit same-sex marriage. {Note: what applies to Washington State, may not apply to other States that have different laws. The federal govt rules, however, universally apply.}

Pedersen went on to say that "[same-sex couples] don't get Social Security benefits, veterans' benefits, tax benefits, any of the federal benefits, with one small caveat -- community property. ......[but] that would be because of the state community property laws and not because of the marriage."

As we all know by now, there are over 1,300 legal benefits of heterosexual marriage that are denied, in many States, to same-sex marriage partners.
Same-sex partners, and their families, NEED all the benefits they can get, all they are rightly entitled to! And it is only fair and just.....
SINCE "a Tribe is a Sovereign Entity, and is not legally under State law....",
A way can and should be found, to NEGATE DOMA Federal rules, when it comes to the Sovereignty of recognized Tribal peoples!
After all, Same-Sex Marriage for many of them, is nothing new in their culture..... and has a History, as well as being constantly evolving and not exactly the same now as in the past.....

This ruling, in response to the initiative of Heather Purser, who was raised on Suquamish tribal land, and came out as a Lesbian while attending WWU, was passed UNANIMOUSLY.
Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman said he knew of no opposition to this action of the Suquamish.
"We are open and tolerant, and we want to make sure our members are offered the opportunity to be happy and free in their lives. This lined up with our values as a tribe. We don't discriminate."
A powerful Example given here.


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