Michigan's first gay marriage: Same-sex wedding on American Indian reservation under tribal law

(WXYZ) - Tim Lacroix and and Gene Barfield became the first gay couple to be married in Michigan. The two were wed in a ceremony held today on a northern Michigan Indian reservation. Tribal law permitted the marriage which is prohibited under the state Constitution.

Lacroix, 53, belongs to Michigan's  Indian Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. He and Barfield, 60, have been partners for 30 years.

In 2004, Michigan voters approved a same-sex marriage ban in the form of an amendment to the state's Constitution.

Today's marriage became possible through an amendment made to the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians' marriage statute.

The chairman of the tribe in Petoskey, Dexter McNamara, signed that amendment Friday morning. He later participated in the ceremony and pronounced Lacroix and Barfield married.

Tribal officials believe the marriage is safe from the federal Defense of Marriage Act which is in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Lacroix and Barfield both served several years in the U.S. Navy and believe they fought for everyone else's rights and freedom and now they say they want the same rights.

A 2012 Michigan State University study found that more than half of the state - 56% - supports gay marriage . This marked an increase from when the same study was conducted in 2011.

According to the Associated Press, same-sex marriages are also recognized by the Coquille Tribe in North Bend, Oregon and the Suquamish Tribe in Suquamish, Washington.

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