Tim LaCroix and Gene Barfield, who
became the first Michigan gay couple to marry on Friday, said it was
about time after 30 years.
LaCroix, 53, and Barfield, 60, married
after the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Chairman
Dexter McNamara signed a proclamation allowing gay and lesbian
couples to marry on tribal soil. The tribal council voted 5-4 in
favor of the change on March 3.
While Michigan's 2004 voter-approved
amendment limits marriage to heterosexual unions, state laws do not
apply to the tribe, which is considered a sovereign nation.
Appearing on CNN, the men said that
after 30 years together a wedding was overdue.
“It was just time,” said LaCroix, a
tribe member. “And, you know, I love him and it's just overdue. I
mean, you know, 30 years. No one should have to wait that long to be
When asked about the fact that their
marriage won't be recognized by the state, Barfield pointed to his
wedding band and said, “I'm married.”
“Imagine living 60 years and for such
a long time it was such a remote possibility that it wasn't even
discussed,” he continued. “Then, when it began to be discussed,
there was this whole line of people waiting to tell you, 'You can't
do that. You can't do that.' Two weeks ago, we can do that.”
“It's just absolutely wonderful. And
I think one of the things that's wonderful about it is the normalcy.
Equality is equality; anything short of that is not equal.” (The
video is embedded on this page. Visit
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The couple first started dating while
in the U.S. Navy.
At least two other U.S. Indian tribes
have legalized such unions: The Coquille Tribe in North Bend, Oregon
in 2009 and the Suquamish Tribe in Suquamish, Washington in 2011.