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West Michigan couple have first same-sex wedding in Pokagon Tribal Court
DOWAGIAC, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The fight for marriage equality centered on West Michigan Thursday.
History was made in Dowagiac as two men became the first same-sex couple to wed in the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Newschannel 3 was at the tribal courthouse for the wedding.
Daniel Hossler and Enrico Perez had already been dating for three years when the question was popped at a gathering for their LGBT non-profit on Valentine’s Day.
“And we actually had a benefit and he proposed to me in front of 350 people,” said Perez.
Perez said yes.
And there was another big surprise in March, when the Pokagon Band Tribal Council approved marriage for same sex couples.
“And we started making plans the very next day,” Perez said.
The big day finally arrived Thursday with an afternoon ceremony at the Pokagon Band Tribal Court outside Dowagiac.
This was the first same-sex marriage to be approved in the Pokagon tribe.
Although cameras were not allowed inside the courthouse, Newschannel 3 was still able to capture the excitement of history in the making.
Family and friends threw blue flower petals at the couple as they left the court, displaying their marriage certificate.
“I’m ecstatic; I’m high off the world right now. It's amazing,” Perez said.
As a member of the Pokagon tribe, Daniel will now be able to share his benefits with Enrico.
“Its kind makes me feel bad too. Because we're at a spot in our lives where we can do this and we were given the chance and we can take full advantage of that. My friends can't. So that's kind of our message here today, that it's time,” Hossler said.
The newlyweds do face many challenges, with a gay marriage ban in Michigan.
But the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage is giving them hope for the future.
“I've had a lot of positive feedback, no negative. A lot of positive, good for you guys, congratulations. I've seen little negativity,” said Hossler and Perez.
The couple said they’re planning on having a reception for family and friends this weekend.