Marriage Equality Lawsuits Brewing in Navajo Nation

NavajosamesexcoupleMarriage equality may have come to New Mexico and Utah, but you’re still not free to marry in every corner of those states. In Navajo areas, your marriage is null and void.

A reporter interviewed a bunch of leaders in and around the Navajo Nation about marriage equality, and all of them are open to allowing marriage equality. So why don’t they?

Currently, eight tribes across the country allow LGBT members to marry: The Coquille Tribe in Oregon, the Suquamish Tribe in Washington, the Tribal Council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan, the Santa Ysabel Tribe in California, the Colville Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation in Washington, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, and the Leech Lake Tribal Court in Minnesota.

Could this be the year that equality comes to the Najavo Nation? It sure seems that way.

A 2005 law would have to be repealed first, but like DOMA, the Diné Marriage Act has plummeted in popularity since it was first passed. The guy who was president in 2005 now says it should be overturned; the current president wants it overturned; and a reporter was apparently unable to find anyone willing to speak in favor of keeping it.

Navajo activists seem to have settled on a legal strategy to overturn the law, rather than legislative. They’re planning lawsuits and a public education campaign over the coming year. With around 200,000 members, they’re the second largest indigenous tribe (Cherokee has around 300,000 members), so it’ll be a major victory when marriage finally comes.

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  • LAman

    This makes me happy to see Native American tribes allowing same-sex marriage in a state where it is not allowed. No state should tell them what to do.

  • DShucking

    They have sovereignty for a reason and I’m glad that this sort of thing can happen. Many NA tribes would bury feminine men in both their masculine and feminine attire. We had an opportunity to learn from them early on but chose very different, dark path.

  • marc sfe

    @LAman: They are sovereign nations and not bound by state laws.

  • Dakotahgeo

    You have to love the First Americans who seem to be further ahead of the times than their invading European “friends.” All the best, Navajo Nation!

  • Kangol

    Glad to see the First People on these lands are in the vanguard!

  • cubanogm

    When the french trappers came to America they found out the gays were accepted as part of the tribe and in fact they were used with the old braves as the National Guard to defend the village when the braves were hunting or at war.After all they are men but because their feelings to love other men were not allowed to join the groups of the Eagle or the Bear or the Jaguar.The gays had their teepees at the edge of the village.The french trappers called the gay “versaches”.That how they understood the word that the indians used to refer to gays.It was their name as they are called “gays” today and not a derogatory name.The gays were considered in a different category from other men because they had in them a combination of male feelings and female feelings and that made them special and different.Then the american indians were more enlighten that we are today with our prejudices.

  • litper

    I see trans activists again try to mix sexuality with gender issues. It’s not the same.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @cubanogm: Excellent! Hence the term, “two spirits!” or Two spirit people! Thank you cubanogm!

  • litper

    “Two spirits” were transsexuals, not gays. Gosh, you’re so ignorant I feel like i’m in Alabama’s redneck bar in 1950s…

  • DShucking

    What on earth is the problem with the gay community embracing transgenders?

  • LandStander

    @litper: WRONG! “two spirit” referred to anyone who had a strong masculine and feminine side; this would have included a wide variety of individuals. “Transexuals” as we know them today would have been included, but so would more effeminate gay men. To say “two spirits were transsexuals not gays” shows you are just as, or more ignorant on the matter. Try research (or hell, even Wikipedia) before calling others ignorant. Yeesh.

  • TVC 15

    @cubanogm: @Dakotahgeo: It’s actually “berdache.”

  • the other Greg

    @litper: Aside from LandStander’s explanation, it makes sense that any male who was sexually attracted to males, and had the culturally acceptable option of being a berdache, might be likely to do it.

  • DShucking

    @LandStander: Thank you.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @litper: You’re forgiven. My information comes straight from American Native Indians. Just to make sure, I contacted my friends on the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota and they said you were FoSh! I happened to teach there for a number of years so you call them whatever you want and I’ll call it correctly.

  • JayneWebsterras

    my friend’s step-sister makes $80 an hour on the internet. She has been out of work for ten months but last month her paycheck was $18452 just working on the internet for a few hours. check it out…..

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