Marriage equality at the Supreme Court (AP Photo)

Santa Ysabel Tribe First in California to Support Same-Sex Marriage

June 28, 2013

The Santa Ysabel Tribe has announced its firm support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community as it strives for same-sex marriage equality and an end to governmental discrimination.

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, according to the tribe’s press release.

The Santa Ysabel Tribe's announcement came as the Supreme Court was contemplating the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Californians awaited a decision regarding the legality of Proposition 8 in their state. DOMA denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave.

On Wednesday the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, drafted in 1996, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California by declining to rule on a challenge to Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage in California passed by resident voters in 2008.

Lt. Gavin Newsom told NBC News that gay marriage would resume in California within 30 days.

The Tribe's announcement also 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."

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."

About The Santa Ysabel Tribe

The Santa Ysabel Reservation is a federal reservation, headquartered in northeastern San Diego County, near the mountain towns of Santa Ysabel and Julian. The reservation was founded in 1893 and is comprised of 15,526.78 acres. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel consists of 922 enrolled Tribal members. The Santa Ysabel Band is governed by a democratically elected Tribal council. The Tribe owns and operates the Santa Ysabel Casino, the Orchard Restaurant and the Seven Oaks Bar and Grill. For more information, visit