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Navajo Nation May Have To Rethink Same-Sex Marriage


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Navajo Nation To Rethink Gay Marriage

Navajo Nation To Rethink Gay Marriage

While the United States Supreme Court has declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the ruling raises legal and cultural issues on the Navajo reservation. Long-held beliefs and a Navajo version of the Defense of Marriage Act could complicate implementation of the court’s ruling.

Passed in 2005, the Dine Marriage Act banned the recognition of same-sex marriages. But with the Supreme Court ruling, Navajo views on same-sex marriage may be facing change.

Clara Pratte is director of the Navajo Nation's Washington office. She said by keeping in mind the needs of tribal citizens, but also being aware of the changing demographics of the Navajo Nation, the Dine Marriage Act may come up for discussion among tribal members again.

"It's a difficult balance, but I’m confident and I’m optimistic that at some point we will have this equality discussion in a more robust way," Pratte said.

Pratte adds that she's not sure if the Nation can pay out benefits to same-sex couples if required to.

Tristan Ahtone was a reporter for the Fronteras Desk from 2012 to 2014.