• The Osage Nation's 2017 Sovereignty Day Powwow. (Instagram/@bpolacca)Source: Instagram/@bpolacca
"To every Native kid just beginning to understand who they are inside, the tribe has made it clear we support and love them."
By
Michaela Morgan

26 Mar 2017 - 8:56 AM  UPDATED 26 Mar 2017 - 8:56 AM

A Native American tribe in northern Oklahoma has narrowly voted to allow same-sex marriage in a historic vote this week.

Just over 52 per cent of Osage Nation members voted to amend the definition of marriage to be ‘a personal relation between two persons’, according to Osage News

The campaign for same-sex marriage was led by Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead, who was frustrated that the tribe's congress was unable to come to a decision on the issue.

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Love (sometimes) wins.

Buffalohead was reluctant to take the same-sex marriage bill to a referendum but was determined to fight for marriage equality for Osage Nation members.  

“We’re thankful for all the Osages who voted in this election. The time for discrimination is over,” she said.

Tribal member Jennifer Tiger drove from California to vote in person at the election and said the vote was a long time coming.

“The United States Supreme Court recognised gay marriage two years ago. This was long overdue.”

Henry Roanhorse Gray—who co-created the Facebook page ‘Osage Citizens for Marriage Equality’— told NBC he was “incredibly excited” by the result.

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The decision is effective immediately.

"I knew (the vote) was gonna be a huge challenge to get a typically conservative and religious electorate to pass marriage equality, so it being such a close race was no surprise. 

"It really shows the importance of voting—history was truly made by the ones who showed up."

Gray said the vote sends an important message to the LGBT+ youth of Osage Nation. 

"To every Native kid just beginning to understand who they are inside, the tribe has made it clear we support and love them," he said.

Osage Nation joins the Cherokee Nation and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe as the only tribal nations in Oklahoma who now recognise same-sex marriage.