Sitka, Alaska (AP) – The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has given the go-ahead to its courts to allow the performance of same-sex marriages.

CoastAlaska News reports the largest tribal organization in southeast Alaska announced its new policy on Feb. 23 following a unanimous vote last week by the council’s seven-member governing board to define legal marriage without a gender requirement.

Council president Richard Peterson says the action was something the organization could do to include all tribal members.

The new directive also covers tribal divorces.

Peterson says Tlingit-Haida’s tribal courts have not performed marriages in the past as far as he knows.

To qualify for marriages under the tribal courts, at least one member of a couple must be a tribal member. Nearly 30,000 people are listed as tribal members in Alaska and outside the state.

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