Same-sex marriage legal in Oklahoma?

Jason Pickel (l) and Darren Black Bear. Legally married in a Tribal Sovereign Nation in Oklahoma. Photo provided.

by Robin Dorner

Editor in Chief

Now that the federal government has recognized same-sex marriage, this couple just got ‘legally’ married in their home state of Oklahoma. Well, sort-of.

Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear are both of Indian Heritage. Between them, they have some blood of the Winnebago, Cherokee, and Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes.

As a Sovereign Nation separate from the state of Oklahoma, the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe performed the wedding.

“At first we called the tribe about marriage about two years ago and were denied because there were no [federal] laws for same-sex marriage,” said Pickel. “However, now the federal government has said marriage is okay, now the tribe can support it.”

On Sept 9th the couple found out they would be able to get a marriage license through the tribe for twenty dollars. The two will be legally married this month through the tribe.

December will be nine years that the couple has been together and Pickel said he has been fighting for marriage equality longer than that.

“It has been an eventful eight and a half years together. Darren and I have been waiting on the day we could legally get married,” he added. “After don’t ask don’t tell was repealed we tried to get our marriage license at The Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribe, but we were denied.

“Now that the Federal government has legally recognized marriage, we are happy to announce that we got our marriage license through the tribe.”

Pickel and Black Bear are the second same-sex couple to legally get married within the borders of Oklahoma within the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribe.

“About five years ago we were denied entrance into a hotel because we were gay and now we are able to be married,” Pickel concluded. “Even though equality is not nationwide, we hope that it will happen soon.”

October 10, 2013