W hen same-sex marriage was introduced across all 50 states last year, there was an exception for Native American nations who live within the United States, recognising their autonomy. However, the Cherokee and Navajos nations, the two largest in the country, have now over-turned their own ban on same-sex marriages which was enacted in 2004. The Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation, Todd Hembree, ruled that the ban represented a ban with the nation’s constitution and that everybody should be entitled to marriage, whatever their orientation or gender. He went on to say that the nations should also recognise partnerships already formed in the United States.
The decision comes after tax officials raised the issue of how to deal with couples that have got married since last year, specifically in Oklahoma where there is a large number of Native American residents. The tribal courts had declined to rule on the matter and so Todd Hembree decided to step in and rule on the matter instead. The decisions is widely welcomed by thousands of same-sex Native American couples across the United States.