LGBTQ+ Rights - First Same-Sex Marriage Registered in Nepal

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LGBTQ+ Marriage Nepal
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Nepal witnesses its first official same-sex marriage registration on 29 November 2023, marking a significant leap for LGBTQ+ rights in the nation.

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On November 29, in an unprecedented event in Nepal, a couple created history by being the first to officially register a same-sex marriage, marking a substantial advancement for LGBTQ+ rights in the nation.

Maya Gurung and Surendra Pandey's matrimony registration took place at the Dorje village council office, situated amid the mountains west of Kathmandu. This marked the first instance of a municipality permitting a legally recognized same-gender couple to wed. Gurung, a transgender woman, is identified as male under Nepali law. She and Pandey held a Hindu wedding ceremony back in 2017, as reported by Human Rights Watch.

Sunil Babu Pant, an ex-parliamentarian and influential figure in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, attended the registration. He shared the importance of this milestone with the Associated Press.

"After 23 years of struggle, we attained this momentous achievement, and eventually, Maya and Surendra had their marriage documented at the local administrative office," Pant said.

This progress comes after Nepal's Supreme Court issued an interim order earlier this year that allowed same-sex marriages to be registered for the first time. Despite initial resistance from authorities and legal obstacles at both the Kathmandu District Court and High Court, the couple continued in their pursuit.

The Home Ministry's recent procedural amendments played a crucial role in this breakthrough. "It came as quite a surprise and was a welcome change for us," Pant stated, emphasizing the unanticipated yet positive shift in the government's position.

Nepal has been making slow but steady strides toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity, particularly since a 2007 court ruling that encouraged the government to implement changes supporting LGBTQ+ individuals. The nation acknowledges transgender people and offers a third gender option for those who do not identify as male or female on official documents. Furthermore, Nepal's 2015 constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. In that same year, a government committee recommended marriage equality to be granted in the country.