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New Bill Aims for Legalized Marriage of Same-Sex Individuals in Navajo Nation

June 14th, 2022

One member of a same-sex couple in Alaska was recently denied her 2019 Permanent Fund dividends because of an outdated law prohibiting same-sex marriage.
Navajo Nation lawmakers are attempting to repeal regulations established by the tribe prohibiting marriage between people of the same sex

Navajo Nation lawmakers are currently attempting to repeal regulations established by the tribe in 2005 that prohibit marriage between two people of the same sex as well as remove any statements among Navajo law that treat same-sex marriages differently than opposite-sex ones.

Changing Marriage Laws in Navajo Nation

The Dine Marriage Act became effective as law in 2005 when the Navajo Nation Council voted to override a veto of the regulation. When a 2005 resolution to prohibit marriage among same-sex couples was vetoed, some lawmakers requested to address the issue through an initiative to the people instead of 88 delegates determining the results.

Since 2005, the Dine Marriage Act has been in effect and recognizes marital union between couples of the opposite sex regardless of where the marriage was contracted. The law, however, voids marriages between same-sex couples.

The regulation being proposed suggests that the Navajo Nation accept same-sex and opposite-sex marriages on similar terms. 

Sponsorship of the Bill

On the day that the sponsor introduced the bill, he stated that the legislation was created to acknowledge that everyone is equal and that the Navajo Nation supports LGBTQ+ individuals by repealing previous laws that are discriminatory against such individuals. 

Various legislators are supporting the measure, which has been received by members of the Navajo Nation as a step forward for marriage equality.

The program director of the Navajo Nation Pride has stated that the organization’s laws should let individuals select who they would like to marry while also protecting this group from opposition and discrimination. 

The bid requests amending Navajo regulations to match the repeal, which includes the omission of gender references in common-law marriages as well as what is depicted on marriage forms used by the tribe.

The Impact of the Law on the Navajo Nation

Navajo society places substantial emphasis on the structure of marriage and views the elaborate ritual of traditional marriage as being blessed by the “Holy people.”

The change to tribal law would mean that a tribal marriage license could now be obtained by same-sex couples. This step is a critical one that couples want to take as they begin families in the Navajo Nation.

Criticism of the Proposed Regulation

A spokesperson for an LGBTQ+ organization affiliated with the Navajo nation has commented that the decision affirms LGBTQ+ rights. The spokesperson also commented that the legislation offers protection to the community and stops discrimination while pursuing homesite leases, obtaining adoption or guardianship, and seeking health insurance coverage.

Navajo members have been urged to stand by this new regulation.

 Others in same-sex marriages support the measure because it would communicate a message throughout the country that the United States and the tribes embrace the LGBTQ+ community. These couples have also commented that marriage equality in the nation would let them return home to live and build a home there.

In a March newspaper article, the Navajo President stated that the Act is now an issue that influences many people and is a conversation that should include all Navajo people. 

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

Same-sex rights in this country are under a period of great development. The Universal Life Church’s blog focuses on describing the most noteworthy of these developments in a way that examines opposing sides and which can be easily understood by readers.


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