The author begins with a 19th century state case recognizing a polygamous marriage among Chippewa Indians because the tribe at that time recognized such marriages. He uses that as a springboard into the same-sex marriage debate and what it could possibly mean for tribal sovereignty. Pieces of the puzzle:
- After Goodridge two lesbians applied for (and were denied) a marriage license on the Cherokee reservation. Their appeal was dismissed on procedural grounds.
- The Navajo Nation passed a Defense of Marriage Act. The federal DOMA explicitly mentions Indian tribes as sovereigns that don't have to recognize marriages recognized by other states and tribes.
- Drafts of the proposed constitutional amendment to preserve marriage as heterosexual only do not mention Indian tribes.
If someone registered as a domestic partner in Washington State is hurt on the Yakama Nation reservation and taken to a clinic there, does the partner get to visit and make decisions?