Same sex marriages blocked for now in the Cherokee Nation - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Same sex marriages blocked for now in the Cherokee Nation

Updated:
The Cherokee Nation's 15-member trial council unanimously passed a law Monday night declaring marriage to legally involve a man and a woman.

A moratorium that restricts the nation from issuing marriage licenses is still in effect until a court hearing on Friday.

The lesbian couple who applied for the license and was denied held a private vow exchange ceremony in Tulsa last month. But they plan to keep fighting for equal treatment.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger was the only reporter in Tahlequah Tuesday when the couple tried to file their application again.

Dawn McKinley and Kathy Reynolds are once again on Cherokee land, fighting for their union to be recognized in the eyes of their tribe. "We're not the only couple out here; they're excluding several of us."

They were accompanied by Reverend Leslie Penrose, the minister who officiated at their ceremony last month. Dawn and Kathy took their vows less than a week after a Cherokee Nation court clerk gave them a marriage certificate on May 13th.

The day after that, the chief justice put a 30 day moratorium against issuing marriage licenses, a moratorium which was supposed to expire Monday, but Penrose says an injunction was filed restricting the application for new certificates. "It doesn't cover ones that have been issued because changed in the Cherokee law can't be retroactive according to the constitution."

Dawn and Kathy say all they want is the same rights as other married couples. On Monday, the chief justice posted an order banning cameras in the courtroom, but News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger was able to go inside the courthouse to watch Dawn and Kathy file for their marriage license for the second time and for the second time they were refused.

Dawn and Kathy say they are frustrated with court's refusal to adhere to the law, they say they feel as though they've been rejected by their own people. But Cherokee Nation attorney Todd Hembree, who filed the injunction, says the tribe isn't shunning its citizens. "It's not our intent to shun anyone it our job to protect the definition of family and marriage in the Cherokee Nation."

"They know they're breaking their own laws, they know they are." Dawn says as emotional as this journey is to have their marriage valid. This road block won't stop them and they say they will continue to fight for their rights even if they have to take it to court. "They can make up their laws as they go and it's not right!"

Todd Hembree says he filed the temporary injunction. A moratorium that restricts the nation from issuing marriage licenses is still in effect until a court hearing on Friday.
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