Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Case Summary & History

Family & Relationships

Case: Reynolds and McKinley

STATUS: Pending, Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Nation District Court

NCLR represents Kathy Reynolds and Dawn McKinley, a same-sex couple who are members of the Cherokee Nation. In May 2004, Reynolds and McKinley obtained a marriage certificate from the Cherokee Nation and married shortly thereafter. The next month, another member of the Cherokee Nation filed a petition seeking to invalidate Reynolds and McKinley’s marriage. NCLR successfully defended Reynolds and McKinley before the Cherokee high court. Two days later, various members of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council filed a new action seeking to invalidate Reynolds and McKinley’s marriage. In December 2005, the high court dismissed this second challenge to their marriage.

In January 2006, the Court Administrator, who is responsible for recording marriage licenses, filed a third lawsuit challenging the validity of the couple’s marriage. NCLR is now defending Reynolds and McKinley’s marriage against this third, and hopefully final, challenge. NCLR has asked the court to dismiss the case, and is awaiting a ruling from the Cherokee Nation District Court.

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