Love Triumphs in Nepal: Historic Same-Sex Marriage Celebrated

Love Triumphs in Nepal: Historic Same-Sex Marriage Celebrated

Local authorities in a Nepali village marked a significant milestone on Wednesday by officially registering the nation’s first historic same-sex marriage. This follows a Supreme Court interim order, issued five months ago, that paved the way for such unions in the traditionally conservative country. The marriage involves 36-year-old Ram Bahadur (Maya) Gurung, identifying as female despite being born male, and 26-year-old Surendra Pandey, who identifies as male.

The formal registration took place at the Dordi rural municipality office in Lumjung district, west Nepal. Surendra Pandey expressed happiness, stating, “We are both very happy. Like us, all others in our community are happy too.” The couple, together for nine years, previously had a Hindu ritual ceremony in 2016 in Kathmandu.

Hem Raj Kafle, chief administrative officer of the Dordi rural municipality, confirmed the issuance of the marriage registration certificate in compliance with the Supreme Court order and government instructions.

This development stems from the Supreme Court’s interim order in June, granting same-sex couples the ability to register their marriages until a final verdict is reached. Sunil Babu Pant, founder of the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading LGBTQ+ rights organization, described this registration as a victory for sexual and gender minorities advocating for equal rights, including marriage recognition.

Pant, a former lawmaker, emphasized the historic nature of this event, noting it to be the first same-sex marriage registration in South Asia. He highlighted its broader implications, stating, “It will open the door for them to jointly open bank accounts, own and transfer property like just any other couples.”

Comparatively, Taiwan is the only other Asian location where same-sex marriage is legalized, challenging predominantly conservative societies in the region. Despite being a Hindu-majority nation, Nepal has embraced progressiveness, particularly since the resolution of a decade-long Maoist insurgency in 2006. The political landscape evolved further with the abolition of the 239-year-old Hindu monarchy in 2008, demonstrating the country’s commitment to societal transformation and inclusivity.

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