Gay marriage celebrations weren't only happening in New Jersey this week. According to the Huffington Post on October 22, Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear became the first gay couple to legally marry in the state of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is probably the last state anyone would expect a legal gay marriage to take place considering that it is illegal in the state and gay marriages performed in other states aren't recognized. So how did Jason and Darren get around state laws?
Jason was able to exploit a loophole in Oklahoma law by coming up with the idea to get married through the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribal Court, an autonomous Native American judiciary in Concho, Oklahoma. The Tribal Court isn't subject to state laws and does not specify gender in its law code surrounding marriage. There is a mandate, however, that both people seeking marriage must have Native American heritage and live within the tribe's jurisdiction which both Jason and Darren met.
Jason was actually surprised of the answer he received from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe's courthouse when he called to inquire about getting married.
"I was really expecting a big no," Pickel told local news station KOCO-TV. "But they said, 'Yeah, come on down. It's 20 bucks."
The happy couple will still be denied tax breaks on their state returns but they will be able to receive federal tax benefits.
Although they have made history, Jason Pickel knows there is still a long ways to go in the gay marriage fight.
"When we have equality in all 50 states and all U.S. territories that is when we'll have true equality. That's when I will be truly, truly happy."