Navajo Nation couple weighs court challenge to marriage law

Members of the Navajo Nation are working to repeal the Dine Marriage Act of 2005, which outlaws same-sex marriage. Photo from Repeal the Dine Marriage Act / Facebook

A Navajo Nation couple is weighing a legal challenge to the Dine Marriage Act of 2005.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage requires all states to recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions. But the ruling does not apply to tribal governments.

"We both know now that if we leave the Navajo reservation that our relationship is validated off the reservation," Alray Nelson, the founder of the Coalition for Navajo Equality, told Fronteras. "But that’s a big statement within itself, too. In our own home community, our relationship’s not valid."

So Nelson and Brennen Yonnie, both of whom are tribal members, are considering a lawsuit in tribal court. An Indian law expert believes they may be able to invoke the Indian Civil Rights Act.

Barring a court case, Nelson and supporters are also working to repeal the law through the Navajo Nation Council.

Get the Story:
Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Doesn’t Apply To Tribes (Fronteras 8/3)

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