Nepal’s First Same-Sex Marriage Ignites Controversy Amidst Concerns Over Cultural Backlash

Human Rights Triumph


On Wednesday, the first same-sex marriage in Nepal was registered in a village, according to officials and activists. This happened five months after the country's Supreme Court issued an emergency order making it legal for such marriages in the mostly conservative country.

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Ram Bahadur (Maya) Gurung, 36, was born male but identifies as female, and Surendra Pandey, 26, was born male but identifies as female, got married. The marriage was officially filed at the Dordi rural municipality office in the Lumjung district in west Nepal, according to a government official.

"We're both satisfied. "Everyone else in our community is happy, too," Pandey said over the phone.

They've been together for nine years and got married in Kathmandu, the capital, in 2016 according to Hindu customs.

"The couple was given a marriage registration certificate because the Supreme Court ordered us to and because the government told us to," said Hem Raj Kafle, top administrative officer of the Dordi rural town.

The country's Supreme Court made a temporary order in June that let same-sex couples get married while they waited for a final decision.

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The founder of Nepal's largest gay rights group, Blue Diamond Society, Sunil Babu Pant, said it was a win for sexual and gender minorities who have long fought for equal rights, such as having their weddings recognised.

Pant, a former lawmaker, said, "It is historic" because it was the first registration of its kind in South Asia. "They will be able to open bank accounts together, own property together, and transfer it like any other couple."

Taiwan is the only other Asian country that allows people of the same gender to get married.

Majority of Hindus Nepal has become more modern since the end of the Maoist uprising in 2006. The Maoists wanted to get rid of the 239-year-old Hindu royalty, and that's what the political parties did two years later. The Maoists' leader is now prime minister and leads a coalition government with the moderate Nepali Congress party.


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Navin Lamsal


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