California Native American Tribe announces support of same-sex marriageOnline Only, Top Highlights, Around the Nation, Breaking News Monday, June 24th, 2013
SANTA YSABEL, Calif. — Among those who have suffered the denial of basic human rights in this country, Native Americans can unfortunately take a prominent place. Because their historic experience of prejudice strongly resonates to this day, the Santa Ysabel Tribe, founded in 1893 in California, has announced its firm support for the LGBT community as it strives for same-sex marriage equality and an end to governmental discrimination. As sovereign nations, Tribes in the United States have the power to issue proclamations on public policy issues affecting their membership and others occupying their reservations.
The Tribe’s announcement comes on the heels of President Obama’s speech at the Brandenburg Berlin Gate last week, as he called for fairness and equality for all, specifically mentioning the LGBT community. Santa Ysabel is also committed to promoting the principle of non-discrimination and to passing the support onto communities within their Nation.
“Although the Tribe has certainly come far, they won’t ever forget the sting of prejudice, or stand passively by when others suffer discrimination or denial of basic human rights” said Virgil Perez, Tribal Chairman. “Native Americans have fought hard to establish and protect their own rights, and Santa Ysabel is determined to support our own, and other same sex couples in their struggle to be recognized and treated fairly as citizens of this great nation.”
Santa Ysabel is one of only four Tribes in the U.S., and the only Tribe in California, to date, to recognize same sex marriage. The Santa Ysabel Tribe’s announcement comes as the Supreme Court contemplates the constitutionality of DOMA and Californians await a decision regarding the legality of prop 8 in their state. (A May 2013 survey also found that a firm majority of Californians support same-sex marriage.)
The Santa Ysabel Tribe owns and operates the Santa Ysabel Resort & Casino, located near the mountain town of Julian, and considers it a welcoming place for all races, cultures and genders. Overlooking Lake Henshaw, the area is surrounded by wilderness and is close to ample outdoor activities and historical landmarks.
“In our support of their battle for equality,” said Perez, “we want the LGBT community to know they are welcome here, and that the encouragement and respect of our membership are with them.”
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