Cherokee AG Opinion: Tribe Should Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Dec 9, 2016

Credit Cherokee Nation Welcome Center

Cherokee Nation’s attorney general issued an opinion Friday saying the tribe should recognize and allow same-sex marriage.

In a 12-page opinion answering a tribal tax commission quandary about whether they could recognize same-sex unions from other jurisdictions when issuing a car tag, Attorney General Todd Hembree said the Cherokee Nation Constitution protects the fundamental right to marry, and the nation can’t deny a marriage license or refuse to recognize a marriage based on the individuals’ sexes.

Hembree noted the tribal council didn’t make marriage between a man and a woman until 2004. He pointed out the Cherokee Nation is sovereign and not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision that legalized same-sex marriage for the U.S., but Hembree used similar reasoning in his opinion.