Marriage Equality Debate Arises Anew In Navajo Nation

NavajoIn 2005, during the height of anti-gay marriage fear-mongering of the Bush years, the Navajo nation passed the Dines Marriage Act, which prohibits same-sex marriage.

Now, eight years and massive amounts of political progress later, LGBT activists within the Navajo nation are hoping to reverse course.

The Navajo Post reports that LGBT activists, Desmond Tome, an adviser to Navajo President Ben Shelley, and Arizona State. openly gay Sen. Jack Jackson Jr. were all on hand to debate the matter at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, Friday. All seem to agree that traditional resistance among tribal elders will be the highest hurdle:

[Tome] said he spoke with Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly about the complexities and he said the President respects the gay community, referring to them as the five fingered people in ‘Navajo’ and they are just like everyone else.

Tome was also asked directly if the Navajo Nation would allow same-sex marriage, and he redirected the question to the Navajo Nation Council Delegate Johnathan Hale for an answer.


The forum speakers were careful not to say with [policy] specifics, [like] if the
Navajo Nation would support a gay marriage bill, [but] they did suggest to the lesbian and gay community to be careful not to push the issue on the Navajo elders that may still be against a bill that would allow same sex marriages on the reservation. Some could argue the Navajo traditional culture does allow same sex marriage, by being the ‘two spirited’ one.

“Two-spirited” people are said to fulfill both gender roles. The concept of marriage equality would likely go against views of gender and sex based on this ancient tradition.

[Image via orbegay.]

Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:38am ETC by Andrew Belonsky
in gay marriage, News