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Nepal Makes History as the First South Asian Country to Officially Register Same-Sex Marriage

In a groundbreaking move, Nepal has become the first South Asian country to officially register a same-sex marriage, marking a significant step towards recognizing and protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. The historic event took place in Dordi Rural Municipality of Lamjung district in Western Nepal, where trans-woman Maya Gurung, 35, and Surendra Pandey, 27, a gay man, legally formalized their union.

The registration of Maya and Surendra’s marriage comes five months after Nepal’s Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The couple’s application had previously been rejected by the Kathmandu District Court, citing a lack of necessary laws, despite the Supreme Court’s interim order to legalize same-sex marriage issued on June 27, 2023.

Sanjib Gurung (Pinky), president of the Blue Diamond Society, an organization advocating for the rights and welfare of sexual minorities in Nepal, confirmed the registration of the marriage. Pinky expressed joy and called it a great achievement for the third-gender community in Nepal. He emphasized that this landmark decision is not only the first of its kind in Nepal but also in the entire South Asian region.

Nepal’s Supreme Court had paved the way for same-sex marriage as early as 2007, and the Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Surendra Pandey and Maya Gurung, married in the traditional manner with the approval of their families, have been living together as a married couple for the past six years. Pinky highlighted the significance of this milestone, stating that it not only benefits the couple but also opens doors for other third-gender individuals to have their marriages legally recognized.

Pinky concluded by expressing optimism for the future, noting that while the marriage has been temporarily registered, the formulation of necessary laws will eventually lead to its permanent recognition, setting a precedent for other LGBTQ+ couples in the country.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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