Osage Nation approves ballot over gay marriage

Low turnout for controversial Osage Nation ballot over gay marriage (KTUL)

An Osage Nation vote to change the definition of marriage had surprisingly little turnout at the ballot boxes Monday, election officials said.

This referendum has been talked about and written about for months now, so it's no surprise it's on the ballot.

There were no candidates on this ballot, just a couple of questions.

One about government transparency, and another about changing the definition of marriage from a "man and a woman" to "two persons."

More than 1,100 absentee ballots came into the election board, but only around 65 voters showed up in the two days of early voting.

"Well, I am surprised in one sense," said Shannon Lockett with the Osage Nation Election Board.

Lockett said one reason for the low turnout could be because no candidates were on the ballot.

But considering what is on the ballot, she expected to see more people show up.

"This is historic. We're voting on a question that we've never had an initiative like this come up before the voters," said Lockett.

Voters may have been scarce but opinions on the issue were not.

Brandy Supernaw voted against changing the definition of marriage but said it's nothing personal.

"I don't believe in same-sex marriages," said Supernaw. "If you love someone and they love you back, then hey, go for it."

Voter George Smith said he not only doesn't have a problem with it, the government shouldn't either.

"Everyone should have the same right to go to the hospital and see their loved ones," said Smith. "They should have the same right to inherit, and take care of their loved ones, no matter if they are the same sex or not."

Osage Nation Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead sponsored the legislation.

She said the time to change things for the Osage people is now.

"We have enough discrimination with the outside world, and I feel that all Osages deserve to be treated equally," said Buffalohead.

The polls close at 8 p.m. Monday and both questions on the ballot passed.

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