Effort To Repeal Tribe’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Energized By Court’s Decisions
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - An effort to repeal the Navajo Nation’s same-sex marriage ban has been energized by decisions in some states to allow such unions.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Alray Nelson, organizer of a gay and lesbian rights group advocating a repeal of the tribe’s same-sex marriage ban, is looking for new members of the council to introduce a repeal proposal.
Tribal sovereignty lets the Navajo Nation continue enforcement of its own 2005 gay marriage ban.
The nation’s ban isn’t affected by a New Mexico court decision that legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples and a subsequent ruling that struck down a ban of same-sex marriage in Utah.
Council member Lorenzo Bates said no one on the council is pushing for a repeal of the law and that constituents aren’t raising the issue.
Deswood Tome, an adviser to Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, said the tribal president respects the choice of gay or lesbian Navajos to get married elsewhere, but that the president isn’t making a repeal of the tribe’s 2005 law a priority.
"I don’t believe he’s going to advocate for it, because the president has priorities in areas of job creation, business development, infrastructure, housing, education, health and those right now are where the president’s focus is," Tome said. "I imagine the same with the Navajo Nation council."