Same-sex marriage depends on who you are as a person and as a couple. Society and laws have always governed the rights of individuals whether or not they act in a certain way or love a certain person. Freedom at its best is not always liberating when it comes to living a life of joy and happiness. While laws are enacted in the whole sense to protect and keep the civilized world in motion, with benefits to the general consensus, they sometimes can prove hindering in the path to one’s love and life. Necessary laws to protect us all from harm are needed, but personal choices beyond that should still be personal.
As many states and countries have recognized same-sex marriage as a fact of life, old traditions and conservative views continue to be stumbling blocks along the way. Depending on where you live and who you are seems to determine more than the laws will allow in some states. Texas is struggling with having the right to deem certain things such as gay marriage to be legal while also keeping the conservative view of preventing it. It is impossible to make everyone happy, as each area of the country comes up with their own stance.
Each state in the US is allowed by law to have their own regulations on a same-sex union. Native Americans have an edge up on the controversy if they live in a tribal nation or state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Sovereign law allows for tribal nations to decide their own laws and gives them power to oversee such things as same-sex marriage.
Over the centuries, gay Native Americans have been respected within their own nation as special individuals that possess multiple qualities that could benefit the whole tribe. Having both a masculine and a feminine side was viewed upon as an extra blessing and uniting in marriage was seen as an acceptable union. Often artistic with keen teaching skills, gays and lesbians were simply called two spirited. A beautiful name for the rainbow of personalities who pursued life just as they were born.
Gender identity and variance was not an issue until the dawn of European influence invaded the land of native America. During the 20th century, many things changed for the better and for the worst. Quiet, yet strict dominance pervaded the once peaceful world of indigenous people with new ideas and restrictions. At that time, some intersex or androgynous people withdrew and went into hiding as others committed suicide. The rainbow and spirits of nature was dimmed with the appearance of dressed up dictators.
As reservations were created from wars on the land in America, the Native American found new life in the confines of government property. Still, laws were enacted and set aside to protect their rights as each tribe governed their own people. There currently are 566 tribes in the US that approve and agree with same-sex marriage. Two spirits united is better than two hearts apart in misery. Same -sex marriage still ranks above incest and polygamy and is viewed by many as just a loving act of love.
Although the Navajo and Cherokee nations seem to defer more to general laws of the land and remain more conservative, same-sex marriage is allowed in states within a tribe, even if the state itself has not enacted the legal union between couples. Laws still differ in each state, but sovereign nations have more power to accept or reject. The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma seem to be the most up to date when it comes to accepting same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage continues to be a controversial topic of debate, as those in charge enjoy their own definition of love and commitment. Firm foundations of love and marriage in a hetero-sexual union seem to still be the general law of the land, but who can control who they fall in love with? It depends on who you are and how hard you want to fight for your birth given rights when it comes to love. Two-spirited unions is the best description of a same-sex marriage as is the same for everyone who enjoys freedom and peace.
Many gay and lesbian marriages now use Native American traditions in their ceremonies recognizing the two-spirited idea of long ago. They echo the unified, similar beliefs and acknowledgement of true love. As each person is different, the spirit world remains the same. Rainbows and wishes, peaceful living in nature and love unrestrained is what we all want, need and should have available to enjoy, as we chart our own paths in the journeys in life.
Editorial By: Roanne FitzGibbon