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Senate bill allows more tribal officials to solemnize marriages

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The state Senate passed legislation that would extend the right to solemnize marriages to tribal judges and various other tribal officials on Indian reservations, according to an announcement made Thursday by Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, who sponsored the measure in the Assembly.

“The law that was on the books was from a different time and does not afford tribal leaders the rights they deserve,” said Mrs. Russell, D-Theresa, in a news release. “This legislation brings the law into the 21st century and provides officials on reservations with the same authority given to countless officials in the state.”

By contrast, the only Native American authorities who are currently “permitted to solemnize marriages are Peacemakers, presumably referencing only the Peacemakers of the Seneca Nation of Indians,” the Senate bill reads.

The legislation now awaits Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signature to become law.

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