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Suquamish Tribe Passes Gay Marriage

By Charlotte Robinson, August 03, 2011
Heather Purser came out before dozens of Suquamish Tribal members at a general council meeting last March. She told the tribe she was a lesbian & asked her people to recognize same-gender marriages at the tribe’s Washington state reservation. After 4 years of lobbying tribal members the 28 year old didn’t know how much support she had. "When I turned around to sit back down I was shaking," Purser recalled Tuesday. Then the council put the issue to a voice vote of the people. "Everyone said aye. No one said nay," Purser said. So on Monday the Suquamish Tribal Council ratified the people’s wishes & recognized gay marriage, making it only the second tribe in the country known to do so. The new law allows the tribal court to issue a marriage license to 2 unmarried people, regardless of their sex, if they’re at least 18 years old & at least one of them is enrolled in the tribe. Gay marriage is still illegal in the state, but the Legislature this year approved a measure recognizing same-gender unions from other jurisdictions, which include other nations. State lawmakers also have approved a so-called "everything but marriage" law, granting same-gender couples many rights but still falls short of heterosexual couples. Exclusive Audio Chat with Nicole Conn about her new film “A Perfect Ending” that stars Morgan Fairchild, John Heard, Barbara Niven & newcomer Jessica Clark & more @ OUTTAKE VOICES™ Hear Audio Interviews w/ LGBT Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™ SUPPORT OUR QUEST @ OUTTAKE™ EQUALITY STORE...:) View Our Historic Short Trailer on Gay Marriage

1 comment:

Heather Purser said...

I came out to my family when I was 16 and decided to campaign for gay marriage in my tribe after college. I wanted to feel accepted by my tribe. I was expecting a fight to be ugly. But I was so shocked. I guess I was expecting the worst out of people. I was expecting the worst out of my people. Everyone said aye as my father and brothers looked on.

"I’m proud that she stood up for herself and took a stand. You bet," said Heather’s father, Rob Purser. "A father’s main concern is that your children are happy, and you do what you can to help them."

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