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Tribe's men-only rule could derail its casino bid

March 26, 2009
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AUSTIN, Texas—A tribe trying to persuade the state Legislature to let it reopen its casino has run into a roadblock -- its rule barring women from voting in tribal council elections.

Tigua Indian leaders say women have never voted and any call to change that would insult the 1,500-member tribe.

But Rep. Valinda Bolton says voting is "a basic human right," though she also recognizes the tribe's interest in economic development. After Bolton raised the issue, a meeting was hastily arranged between Tigua women and female legislators to discuss it further.

In 2001, then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn had successfully sued, alleging that the casino violated antigambling laws. The tribe says the casino would provide 800 jobs and is lobbying for a change in those laws.

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