Same Sex Marriage Not Recognized for All Americans

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Two Spirit Series: Gay Marriage (Part 2/3)

Only about a dozen of the 566 Native tribes recognize same sex marriage.

The Supreme Court's historic decision on the issue last June does not extend to sovereign nations.

Two Spirited, or Native lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were once woven into the fabric of many tribes. Today that's all changed. One gay couple plans to marry on the Standing Rock Reservation.

Lexi Luger and Rhonnae Antell are a minority within a minority.

"Her grandma said, 'My girl, you don't even look like a lesbian.' I'm like, 'I didn't know we were supposed to look a certain way,'" Luger said.

They've been in a committed relationship on the Standing Rock Reservation since 2012.

"After meeting Rhonnae it was just like I felt this huge relief. I finally have met my soulmate because not only did I meet another woman but we were both Native and we both have so much in common," Luger said.

Even their differences bring them together.

"She always has something to say that's hilarious, always," Antell said.

"Rhonnae is my balance, she always grounds me," Luger said.

This past summer in the mountains of Colorado, they made it official.

"I got down on one knee in the snow and purposed to her and she said yes," Luger said.

They plan on getting married next August.

Standing Rock doesn't issue marriage licences. They leave that up the county. So getting married on the reservation won't be a problem.

The Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara (MHA) Nation grants marriage licenses. Same sex marriage is not in the tribal code.

Chairman Mark Fox was recently elected to bring change to the MHA Nation.

"That issue might be something I let our people decide. Have a vote. Say do you support having a possibility of same sex marriage on the reservation and I'll let them choose," Fox said.

If a vote is held, it's unclear what the outcome would be.

"I'd probably vote for it. People should be able to do what they want to do," said Enos Baker, Three Affiliated Tribes.

"Change is hard but still I don't know. I don't know what I would do," said Miss Spotted Bear, Three Affiliated Tribes.

"I guess I'd have to vote no. Because I'm Catholic and that's just the way I've been taught," said Rose Davis, Three Affiliated Tribes.

Luger and Antell aren't affected by the outcome of that election and are excited about their destiny.

"Sitting Bull, who was a chief of the Lakota people. He prophesied that in seven generations from him that seventh generation would revolutionize Native people and Rhonnae and I are a part of that seventh generation," Luger said.

If tribal code is going to be changed for the Three Affiliated Tribes, this generation will have a say in the outcome.

Suicide is a huge problem on reservations. It's an even bigger issue for natives who identify as LGBTQ. We'll talk about that in our next segment.

Watch the first segment of this series at