Osage Nation to decide whether to legalize gay marriage

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PAWHUSKA, Okla. – Osage Nation voters will consider next week whether to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

The tribe already recognizes gay marriages from other jurisdictions, but its legal code still defines marriage as a “personal relation between a man and a woman.” Monday’s vote is on whether marriage should be defined as a “personal relation between two persons.”

The tribe has about 15,000 eligible voters. As of last Monday, the tribe had received 1,070 absentee ballots.

The Tulsa World reported Friday that only a handful of tribes nationwide conduct or recognize same-sex marriages.

In December, the Cherokee Nation’s attorney general said a 2004 law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional. The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council has a committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday to consider referring the issue to voters.

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