I was heartened to see a half page story in May Osage News about passage of the same sex marriage bill. However, I was disappointed to read that it passed with an amendment that disallowed same sex marriages performed in the Osage jurisdiction. RJ Walker’s justification in opposing the bill was that “we’re all a product of our genetics and our upbringing. I don’t support same sex marriages.” Congressman Norris, on the other hand, although he is Catholic, said it was his job to take care of all Osage people. He voted yes to give same sex marriages the same tribal benefits and recognition as opposite sex couples. I grew up in a time when prejudiced attitudes toward those of us who are attracted to our own sex was such that I had to hide my attractions. I had to pretend I was “straight” in order to find acceptance. Those times are past for me. I am proudly married to my husband and now recognized as such by my Osage tribe. My upbringing would have required me to hide in the shadows of society until the end of my days. Fortunately, for myself and other gay men, my country finally recognizes my marriage as equal in the eyes of the law. Are some Osages to be considered less than equal by their tribe? Congressman Shaw’s amendment denying same sex couples the right to be married in ON courts is a sad reflection on our tribe’s commitment to equality for all Osage citizens. It would appear our tribe is captive to prejudicial attitudes that no longer have a place in the larger society and should not in the Osage tribe. My husband and I have been together for 29 years and our marriage is not less than that of Shaw or Norris, nor the other congresspersons who voted against ONCA-1554. Please rescind this amendment and grant all Osages the same courtesy and recognition by our tribe.
Julian Spalding (Julian Trumbly descendant)