Metro Weekly

Navajo Nation having its own debate on gay marriage

“Our culture dictates acceptance. [Gay Navajos] are part of our family, they are our children, and we don’t need to be partial.”


–Former Navajo Nation president Joe Shirley, Jr., now running again to be president of Navajo Nation, regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage. At issue is the question of whether to repeal a 2005 law known as the Dine Marriage Act that prohibits same-sex unions on Navajo reservation lands.  The repeal of the Dine Marriage Act, which could be repealed by a vote of the Navajo Nation Council, is important to the recognition of same-sex relationships because neither Navajo Nation nor any of the other 565 federally recognized Native American tribes would be bound by a favorable ruling on marriage equality from the U.S. Supreme Court, according to an article in The New York Times highlighting the internal debate among members of Navajo Nation.

Image: Joe Shirley, Jr. / Facebook. 

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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