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National
Democracy Now: Gay Marriage in Native America


Democracy Now!, a liberal-leaning radio show, examines same sex marriage in Indian Country on a segment that was broadcast today.

Host Amy Goodman talked to Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. about his opposition to a bill that would outlaw marriage among gay and lesbian tribal members. "I really don't know the Navajo Nation Council even considered banning same-sex marriage because on Navajoland it's not even an issue and that's one of the reasons I vetoed the legislation," he said.

Shirley said the 67 delegates who voted for the Dine Marriage Act of 2005 have no basis to restrict the legal rights of others. "The right to be, whatever that is, is a real basic right," he said. Only the Navajo people themselves should decide the extent of those rights, he added.

Also appearing on the program was Dawn McKinley, a member of the Cherokee Nation. She received a license to marry her long-time partner but now the tribe is suing to have it revoked after the council outlawed same-sex marriage.

"I would like to set straight that we did not go get the license to be activists or to upset anybody," she said on the program. "We took an opportunity that was presented to us and it was something that we believe that we have the right to do. We just wanted our marriage to be recognized in our Nation."

"We're not hurting anybody with our marriage," she added.

David Cornsilk, another Cherokee, is helping McKinley in her fight. He said the National Center for Lesbian Rights is providing legal resources to defend the couple before the Cherokee Nation's top court.

Get the Story:
Gay Marriage in Native America (Democracy Now 5/31)

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation Council - http://www.navajonationcouncil.org
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org

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