Voice for Equality: Joe Shirley Jr.
September 28, 2010
Many Native American leaders have heralded the importance of the freedom to marry for committed LGBT/Two-Spirit couples, such as Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., who received Equality Arizona’s Barry Goldwater Human Rights Award for speaking out against and vetoing the discriminatory Diné Marriage Act of 2005 that banned marriage for same-sex couples on the Navajo reservation.
The Navajo Nation is the largest Indian reservation in the United States. At 27,000 square miles, the Navajo Nation is larger than 10 of the 50 states. More than 255,000 people are enrolled tribal members. Learn more here.
Since taking office as the sixth President of the Navajo Nation, Shirley has shown his commitment to serve the Navajo Nation and its people. His presidential record shows a commitment to equality, fairness, innovations in education, and economic development.
On June 14, 2008, the national LGBT/Two-Spirit organization Native0UT interviewed President Shirley on his decision to veto the Dine Marriage Act:
“I’m a respecter of all people. With us, the Navajo, everyone has rights. I am a respecter of members from all walks of life. As Navajo people we need to go back to our roots and the teachings of our elders in respecting all walks of life. It is just a matter of public education.
"The Navajo as a people have always been very tolerant and very accepting. If we can get back to believing in who we are, where we’ve been and where we’ve come from, I think that will go a long way in having a Navajo world in this day and age that is more accepting of all walks of life.
"Native Americans need to be together and fight for the rights of all people. “ [Link]
Freedom to Marry salutes Joe Shirley, Jr. as a Voice for Equality.