odawa indians

Emily Fox

BOYNE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Two men who became spouses at a Michigan Indian reservation in a state that bans same-sex marriages have been invited to the White House.

MLive.com reports that Tim LaCroix and Gene Barfield will be guests of President Barack Obama on Thursday at a reception honoring LGBT Pride Month. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

The men were married in March by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, of which LaCroix is a member.  Same-sex marriage is prohibited in Michigan, but federally recognized Native American tribes are self-governing and aren't bound by state law.

Barfield and LaCroix say they were shocked to receive the invitation and canceled a scheduled trip to California.

The longtime partners live in Boyne City.

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

A Native American tribe in northern Michigan has become one of the first in the nation to legalize same sex marriage.

The Tribal Chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians signed a statute Friday to legalize same sex marriage. Just moments after Chairman Dexter McNamara gave the final swipe of his pen, he married two men from Boyne City.

HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (AP) - The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians' tribal council is considering a constitutional amendment that would recognize same-sex marriages.

The Petoskey News-Review and WPBN-TV report the American Indian tribe would be the first in Michigan and among a few nationwide to legalize gay marriages if the amendment is adopted.

Most of the about 4,000 people in the tribe live in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula. If the measure is approved, at least one of partner would have to be a member of the tribe. The idea was initially encouraged by two tribal citizens in a letter to the tribal council urging consideration of an amendment.

The proposal currently is in a public comment period. The current tribal constitution defines marriage as between "one man and one woman."