Battle Over Gay Marriage Plays Out in Indian Country

Battle Over Gay Marriage Plays Out in Indian Country

TULSA — Truth be told, Kathy Reynolds and Dawn McKinley were content living in quiet suburban anonymity, raising a child, accepted by neighbors who did not know their sexual orientation, and hoping to grow old together.

A complex legal battle with cultural overtones was not on their agenda. But their dreams bumped against legal reality when Dawn was barred from Kathy’s hospital room because she was not family. It was not long after that the lesbian couple brought the national battle over same-sex marriage to the heart of Indian country as they moved to become the first gay couple to marry under Cherokee law.

More than a year after Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriages, the emotional issue is playing out in the Cherokee courts in Oklahoma, confronting historic issues of cultural traditions and Indian sovereignty. A hearing Tuesday will likely determine whether Reynolds and McKinley are married under Cherokee law — and are therefore legally recognized as a married couple in this conservative state.
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Article title: Battle Over Gay Marriage Plays Out in Indian Country
Source: Washington Post
By Lois Romano, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 1, 2005; Page A02