Nepal becomes the first South Asian country to officially register same-sex marriage

PTI, Nov 29, 2023, 8:46 PM IST

Representative image

Kathmandu: Five months after the Supreme Court legalised it, Nepal on Wednesday formally registered the first case of same-sex marriage, making it the first South Asian country to do so.

Trans-woman Maya Gurung, 35 and Surendra Pandey, 27, a gay, got legally married and their marriage was registered at Dordi Rural Municipality of Lamjung district in Western Nepal, according to Sanjib Gurung (Pinky), president of Blue Diamond Society, an organization working for the rights and welfare of the sexual minorities in Nepal.

Way back in 2007, Nepal’s Supreme Court had allowed same-sex marriage. Even the Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, explicitly states that there can be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

On June 27, 2023, the Supreme Court issued an interim order to legalise same-sex marriage in Nepal in a writ petition filed by multiple people, including Gurung. But despite the historic order to temporarily register same-sex marriage, Kathmandu District Court four months ago rejected the move citing a lack of necessary laws.

Surendra Pandey and Maya’s marriage application was rejected at that time.

“It’s a great pleasure to learn about this, it is a great achievement for us, the third gender community of Nepal,” Pinky told PTI. “This is the first case not only in Nepal but also in the whole of South Asia, and we welcome the decision.” Married in the traditional manner with the approval of their families, Surendra, a resident of Nawalparasi district, and Maya, a resident of Lamjung district, have been living together as husband and wife for the past six years.

“There are many third-gender couples living without their identities and rights and this is going to help them a lot,” Pinky said, adding that the door has now opened for other people of this community to get their marriage legalised.

“Now their marriage has been temporarily registered and after the formulation of necessary laws, it will get permanent recognition automatically.”

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