Navajo Nation considering legislation to legalize same-sex marriage

The Navajo Nation's legislative body is considering legalizing same-sex marriage

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While same-sex marriage is recognized across the United States, it is not legal for the Navajo Nation. The Native American tribe's legislative body is considering "enshrining" same-sex marriage into the tribe's code 

The legislation seeks to end the ban on same-sex marriage under the Diné Marriage Act and repeal the section of the Navajo Nation Council resolution from 2005 that forbids couples of the same gender from marrying on tribal land or having their marriage recognized.

The Arizona state flag flies between the United States flag and the Navajo Nation flag.

The Arizona state flag flies between the United States flag and the Navajo Nation flag. (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The bill also proposes to amend other provisions in tribal law to conform with the repeal, including those that address spousal rights to property and employee benefits under the tribal government.

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A 2015 Associate Press article noted that 10 tribes recognized same-sex marriage prior to the 2005 Obergefell ruling.

Arizona's state constitution, in Article 30, Section 1, only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman and specifically bans same-sex marriage. 

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The same-sex marriage ban, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, was part of Proposition 102, which was approved by voters in the November 2008 election. Same-sex marriage became legal in Arizona following a federal court ruling in 2014. 

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Eugene Tso introduced the legislation last week, and it went through its first committee hearing on July 13, with the Health, Education, and Human Services Committee. 

It's Tso's second time introducing the bill. The first bill did not make it through the legislative process, and Tso withdrew his support of the bill in April to rework the proposal. 

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"It does not change any language around the marriage between a man and a woman. It actually goes further and protects marriage between the Navajo people," Nelson said about the legislation.