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Navajo Nation struggles with same-sex marriage

Source: 
Los Angeles Times
Author: 
Saba Hamedy
Date: 
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Elizabeth Kronk Warner, director of the Tribal Law & Government Center at the University of Kansas School of Law, said her research showed that tribes historically accepted same-sex unions.
"In many of our tribal cultures, we called gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members as 'two spirits,' because there was a belief that they had two spirits captured within themselves," she said. "They were treated specially and with a lot of respect."
Now, there is a struggle between the two-spirit concept and the newer but strong Christian influence, she said.
"I think the national trend is definitely in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage," said Kronk Warner, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. "There are already several tribes who recognize same-sex marriages despite state law. ... It's as complicated an issue among tribes as it is in individual states."

 

Saba Hamedy wrote:

"New Mexico has seen celebrations across the state since its highest court 10 days ago unanimously ruled it was unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples. Not so for the sovereign Navajo Nation, whose borders spill over into the northeast part of the state and where tribal law is clear: Such unions are banned.

 . . . 

Elizabeth Kronk Warner, director of the Tribal Law & Government Center at the University of Kansas School of Law, said her research showed that tribes historically accepted same-sex unions.
'In many of our tribal cultures, we called gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members as 'two spirits,' because there was a belief that they had two spirits captured within themselves,' she said. 'They were treated specially and with a lot of respect.'
 
Now, there is a struggle between the two-spirit concept and the newer but strong Christian influence, she said.
 
'I think the national trend is definitely in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage,' said Kronk Warner, a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. 'There are already several tribes who recognize same-sex marriages despite state law. ... It's as complicated an issue among tribes as it is in individual states.'"