Nepal made history by becoming the first South Asian nation to register a same-sex couple, just soon after the Indian Supreme Court rejected the petition asking for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the country.
A bench of five judges in the Supreme Court stated that there is no law that makes it a basic right for same-sex couples to marry although they recognised the union. The Supreme Court put the onus on the Parliament though, to decide about the matter.
In light of that, Nepal not just legalising but also registering its first LGBTQ+ couple’s marriage has set an example for other Asian and South Asian nations.
Nepal Making History
Five months after the Supreme Court of Nepal legalised same-sex weddings, it registered its first same-sex marriage on Wednesday, 29th November 2023.
The marriage between 35-year-old trans-woman Maya Gurung (dead name Ram Bahadur) and 27-year-old gay man Surendra Pandey was registered at the Dordi Rural Municipality office in the Lumjung district in west Nepal as per officials.
The news was confirmed by Sanjib Gurung (Pinky), the president of Blue Diamond Society which is a Nepali gay rights organisation.
Hem Raj Kafle, chief administrative officer of the Dordi rural municipality said “We have issued the marriage registration certificate to the couple in consideration of the Supreme Court order and instructions from relevant government authorities.”
Sunil Babu Pant, founder of the Blue Diamond Society also commented on this saying “It is historic,” and that “It will open the door for them to jointly open bank accounts, own and transfer property like just any other couples.”
Gurung and Pandey have been together for almost nine years and even got married with Hindu rituals in 2016 in Kathmandu but couldn’t register their marriage legally.
As per Reuters, Pandey said “We are both very happy. Like us, all others in our community are happy too.”
Nepal is now officially the first South Asian nation to formally recognise and register a same-sex marriage after it already made history on June 27, 2023 when the Supreme Court passed an interim order legalise it in the country.
Gurung, one of the partners in the wedding was part of the writ petition carried out by the people of Nepal urging the Supreme Court for same-sex marriage legalisation.
Speaking with PTI Pinky stated “It’s a great pleasure to learn about this, it is a great achievement for us, the third gender community of Nepal” further adding “This is the first case not only in Nepal but also in the whole of South Asia, and we welcome the decision.”
Maya also stated “We both, Surendra and I are here at Dordi in Lamjung to celebrate the occasion together. Aama Samuha or the local Mother’s Group is also joining together with us. We felt greatly honoured by the decision to register our marriage.”
This comes as a bigger win because just four months ago the Kathmandu District Court rejected the move, claiming that there were not necessary laws for it. Pandey and Maya’s marriage application was also rejected at the time, but eventually, it’s been temporarily registered now.
Pinky stated, “Now their marriage has been temporarily registered and after the formulation of necessary laws, it will get permanent recognition automatically.”
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