PORTLAND, Oregon, August 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Coquille Indian tribe of Oregon has admitted same-sex unions to the legal status of marriage.

The legislation, affecting the small group of about 200-300 Indians, changed Coquille law to include homosexual unions, after a lesbian couple expressed desire that tribal officials sanction their union as a “marriage.”

According to tribal experts, the Coquille tribe is the first American Indian tribe to adopt such a law, reports the Associated Press. The Navajo and Cherokee tribes prohibit same-sex “marriages.”

The Coquille law does not change the lesbian couple’s legal standing in the state of Oregon, where the state constitution prohibits homosexual “marriage.” Since the tribe has been granted sovereignty by the federal government, it did not contravene state law by sanctioning the union, but the lesbian couple will receive none of the federal benefits accorded to married couples.

25-year-old Kitzen Branting, the Coquille Indian seeking “marriage” with her lesbian partner, told the Eugene Register-Guard she does not care about the benefits, only tribal recognition.

“I just wanted the tribe to say ‘Yes, we recognize that you are just as important as any other tribe member, and we will treat you and your spouse as we treat all tribal members,’ ” said Branting.

She and her partner plan to be “married” in May.