It is time for the Repeal of the Diné Marriage Act
Tohatchi, NM – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a historic decision in favor of marriage equality, making it so that same-sex couples will soon have the freedom to marry and be treated with respect for their marriages across the United States.
“Our Nation’s long march towards equality can only move forward. The same must be said for the Navajo LGBT community. Although we are pleased with this decision reaffirming our fundamental right to marry who we love, the Diné Marriage Act is still the law of the land,” said Alray Nelson, lead organizer for the Coalition for Navajo Equality. “Today’s victory will provide a foundation for future action by gay and lesbian Navajo couples who only want to be treated with fairness and respect by their Nation. The compassion shared by the Navajo people for our LGBT relatives and clan members will be the driving force behind efforts to finally repeal this discriminatory law.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling means same-sex couples will soon be free to marry in all 50 states. However, the impact of this decision may have little to no impact to changing tribal laws in Indian Country prohibiting same-sex unions. Though marriage equality reached Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico over the last year, the sovereign government of the Navajo Nation did not recognize the decisions and has yet to take action on the question.
“Although the Supreme Court has spoken, it is not enough to repeal the Diné Marriage Act. This is a law enacted in 2005 by conservative Council Delegates and it must be challenged today with a Navajo solution,” continued Nelson. “That solution is either repealing it on the Council floor through legislation or by Navajo court action. We believe Diné fundamental law and common law provide the necessary statutory protections for same-sex Navajo couples. These same laws that focus on harmony, compassion, and strengthening families can invalidate the Diné Marriage Act tomorrow.”
Of the 566 federally-recognized tribal nations in the United States, twelve nations recognize the freedom to marry. The Coalition is one of the largest LGBT-advocacy organizations in Indian Country and envisions the Navajo Nation as a safe, supportive, & inclusive home for gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transgender family members.
"President Russell Begaye and the Navajo Nation Council has a real opportunity now to take a stand and be leaders for Diné equality,” concluded Nelson. “Their support will end 10 years of discrimination towards our gay and lesbian couples and their families.”
Change.org online petition: https://www.change.org/p/repeal-the-dine-marriage-act-now-end-the-discrimination