Nepal becomes the first South Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage. LGBTQ+ couples in Nepal are legally allowed to register their marriage.
Government in Nepal recognises same-sex marriage
In a historic achievement, the Supreme Court judge Til Prasad Shrestha ordered the Nepalese Government to start registering all same-sex marriages. This landmark ruling was passed on June 28th 2023. Although the current law in Nepal defines marriage as an act between a man and a woman, Shrestha demanded for LGBTQ+ rights. This decision opens the path for more LGBTQ+ equality in Nepal.
The temporary ruling allows same-sex couples to legally register their marriage. One of the leaders of the campaign is Sunil Pant, formerly Nepal’s first ever openly gay member of parliament. Over 200 LGBTQ+ couples are expected to register their marriage in the upcoming months, while the government in Nepal prepares to amend its current anti-LGBTQ+ law.
The process of legalising same-sex marriage in Nepal started back in 2007. The Supreme Court had ordered the government to grant LGBTQ+ couples the right to get married. In the time since, the Nepalese government’s failure to advance LGBTQ+ rights lead to numerous court rulings. Initially, a ruling from March 2023 only allowed same-sex couples who got married in Germany to register their marriage in Nepal. Tired of waiting for the new legislation to be introduced, the Supreme Court commenced the registration for all same-sex marriages.
Marriage equality for ALL
Nepal is the first South Asian country to demonstrate a clear commitment to LGBTQ+ rights. Nevertheless, in India a debate around same-sex marriage has begun and more support of LGBTQ+ relationships has emerged in the past decades. In India, queer couples are still awaiting the court’s decision to legalise marriage for all. As of now, Taiwan is the only country in Asia to have legalised same-sex marriage.
It is evident that everyone, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation should have the right to get married. However, many countries around the world are still reluctant to include queer and trans people. While the legalisation of same-sex marriage will not end LGBTQ+ discrimination, it is nonetheless a very important right that needs to be granted to all people who wish to have a marriage. We will keep shouting and fighting for: Love is Love!