The surprising history of gay marriage in the Navajo nation

Fusion

Ahead of a historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, a parallel debate is raging inside another sovereign nation within U.S. borders: the Navajo nation.

But unlike those in the 50 states, Native Americans who support gay marriage—a coalition of LGBT Navajo, their allies, and even the leading candidate running for the Navajo presidency—have history on their side.

The Navajos have a rich, documented history of accepting and even honoring people that identified with different genders and sexual preferences.

Hastiin Klah (1867-1937) embodied both male and female spirits and is identified in this photo as a  nádleehí Navajo. He was a weaver and medicine man.   Photographer: Harmon T. Parkhurst, Courtesy of New Mexico Palace of the Governors Photo ArchivesHastiin Klah (1867-1937) embodied both male and female spirits and is identified in this photo as a nádleehí Navajo. He was a weaver and medicine man.
Photographer: Harmon T. Parkhurst, Courtesy of New Mexico Palace of the Governors Photo Archives

In fact, as recently as 10 years ago, same-sex unions were recognized by the Navajos.

“We were recognizing same-sex unions between a man and a man and a woman and…

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