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, who live in Boyne City, say they were surprised to receive the invitation and canceled a scheduled trip to California so that they could go to Washington.
It’s particularly gratifying for Barfield, who marched on the White House 20 years ago and returned his service medals from his time in the U.S. Navy to protest the military’s former “don’t ask, don’t’ tell” policy, which allowed gays to serve but not to be open about their sexual orientation. It was repealed in 2011.
The outcome of that case could affect pending suit in Detroit that contends Michigan’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution.
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