Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council approves new marriage ordinance

10.29.2015 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council

After more than a decade, Tribal members soon will be able to marry with a Tribally issued marriage license in Tribal Court.

Tribal Council approved a re-enactment of the Tribal Marriage Ordinance with amendments at its Wednesday, Oct. 28, meeting that will allow couples to marry in Tribal Court with a Tribal marriage license.

Currently, Tribal members can only get divorced in Tribal Court as long as it is uncontested and they can marry on the Reservation, but only with a marriage license issued by another governmental entity.

During the Oct. 20 Legislative Action Committee meeting, Honors Attorney Holly Partridge said the Tribe received “numerous” comments about the Marriage Ordinance and that they were “overwhelmingly” in support of adoption. A Legislative Action Committee executive summary said there were 26 comments submitted.

During a first reading of the revised Marriage Ordinance in August, some Tribal members objected to the non-discrimination clause that would allow same-sex marriages with a Tribally issued marriage license. The non-discrimination clause states that a Tribal marriage license cannot be denied on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, color, gender, gender expression, national origin, disability and military status.

The Tribe has been without a Marriage Ordinance since it was repealed in February 2005. The new ordinance will go into effect on Nov. 18.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  •        Approved final adoption of amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Ordinance that will implement the Tribal Wildlife Management Plan;
  •        Approved final adoption of amendments to the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance;
  •        Appointed Tribal member Matthew Kirkland to a vacant seat on the Spirit Mountain Gaming Inc. Board of Directors;
  •        Re-appointed Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno, Tribal Council member Ed Pearsall and Tribal member Ron Reibach to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees;
  •        Approved adoption of amendments to the Personnel Management Ordinance that provide for random drug testing of employees in safety sensitive positions, plus pre-employment, post-accident and reasonable suspicion testing for all employees;
  •        Approved a Tribal Wildlife Grant application to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service not to exceed $200,000 to improve and assess the habitat at Rattlesnake Butte near Junction City north of Eugene;
  •        And approved the enrollment of two infants into the Tribe because they meet the eligibility requirements for enrollment defined in the Tribal Constitution and Enrollment Ordinance.

Also included in the Oct. 28 Tribal Council packet was an authorization to proceed that moves Tribal Council meetings to 4 p.m. November through February because of the end of daylight saving time and darkness arriving earlier, and another authorization directed staff to bring amendments to the Elders’ Retirement and SSI Ordinance forward to Legislative Action Committee for adoption.

Another authorization to proceed restores the Tribal Council publication Tilixam Wawa to regular publication 10 times a year. It will not be published in June, July or August except for the annual Candidate Statements issue that is sent out in July.

Also, a staff directive directed that the 32nd Restoration Celebration be held on Saturday, Nov. 21, as recommended by the Restoration Planning Committee.

Tribal Council member Jon A. George joined Tribal Artisan Travis Stewart in performing the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting.

The meeting, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Tribal website,, by clicking on the News tab and then Video.