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US: Michigan’s first married same-sex couple invited to White House

June 8, 2013
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A couple who became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in the state of Michigan after their Native American tribe legalised equal marriage will attend the White House LGBT Pride reception next week.

The legislative body of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians voted 5-4 on 3 March to amend its laws to allow equal marriage.

Tim LaCroix, 53, a member of the tribe and Gene Barfield, 60, were married by the tribe’s chairman, Dexter McNamara, who also signed the bill to allow equal marriage.

Mr Barfield, formerly of the US Navy, turned in his service medals 20 years ago in protest against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which required LGBT military staff to conceal their identity.

He and his husband have now been invited to a White House reception honouring LGBT Pride Month on 13 June, reports Michigan Live.

“The fact that there is going to be an LGBT celebration at the White House, times change, times change,” Mr Barfield said.

“So now we”re going to have cookies and milk with the chief executive? To be invited to the White House just blows us away.”

NFL star and LGBT rights campaigner Chris Kluwe was also invited, but declined, sating: “not even the President of the United State is allowed to supercede an NFL mandatory mini-camp practice”.

In 2008, the Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast, who are a federally recognised sovereign nation, are not bound by Oregon’s constitution, and so allowed equal marriage amongst its members.

In 2011, the Suquamish Tribal Council voted to give marriage rights to gay couples on its Seattle reservation.

Equal marriage is not legal in Michigan state law, but senators are set to attempt to repeal the state’s constitutional amendment which bans same-sex marriage.

More: Americas, Michigan, US

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