Downstate tribe to perform gay marriages

Mar 14, 2013

HARBOR SPRINGS, MI (AP)--   The chairman of a northern Michigan Indian tribe says he'll sign a same-sex marriage bill Friday, then preside at the wedding of two men. 

Tim LaCroix, front, and Gene Barfield
Credit Petoskey News-Review

The legislative body of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians voted 5-4 on March 3 to amend the Harbor Springs-based tribe's laws to allow same-sex marriages.

The Petoskey News-Review reports that tribal Chairman Dexter McNamara says he'll sign the bill Friday morning.  McNamara then plans to officiate at the wedding of two longtime friends, 53-year-old tribe member Tim LaCroix and 60-year-old Gene Barfield.

At least two other U.S. Indian tribes recognize gay marriage. The Coquille Tribe in North Bend, Oregon began recognizing the unions in 2009, and the Suquamish Tribe in Suquamish, Washington did so in 2011.

Michigan's Constitution bans gay marriage.