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Nepal makes history: First same-sex marriage in South Asia officially recorded following SC decision

The article highlights Nepal's historic same-sex marriage, the first in South Asia, following the Supreme Court's landmark decision, featuring the union of Maya Gurung and Surendra Pandey and its legal journey amid challenges and community support.

Nepal makes history: First same-sex marriage in South Asia officially recorded following SC decision snt
First Published Nov 30, 2023, 12:30 PM IST

Nepal has officially recorded its first same-sex marriage, marking a historic moment in South Asia. The Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage was celebrated through the union of 35-year-old trans-woman Maya Gurung and 27-year-old gay man Surendra Pandey in the Dordi Rural Municipality of Western Nepal. This landmark event, confirmed by Sanjib Gurung (Pinky), president of the Blue Diamond Society, signifies a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in the region.

In 2007, Nepal's Supreme Court initially granted permission for same-sex marriage, solidifying its commitment to LGBTQ+ rights in the 2015 constitution, which explicitly prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, a groundbreaking decision in June 2023, prompted by a writ petition led by individuals including Maya Gurung, propelled the formal legalization of same-sex marriage in Nepal.

Despite the Supreme Court's decision, the Kathmandu District Court rejected the move four months ago, citing the absence of necessary legal frameworks. PTI reported that Surendra Pandey and Maya's marriage application faced rejection during this period, reflecting the legal complexities surrounding the issue.

Sanjib Gurung (Pinky) expressed immense joy at the development, highlighting its significance not only for Nepal but for the entire South Asian region. This groundbreaking event opens doors for other members of the LGBTQ+ community to seek legal recognition of their marriages. Pinky emphasized that many third-gender couples live without proper recognition, and this decision is a crucial step toward ensuring their rights.

Surendra Pandey, originally from Nawalparasi district, and Maya Gurung, from Lamjung district, entered into a traditional marriage with the consent of their families. The couple has been living together as a married couple for the past six years, emphasizing the importance of familial support in their journey.

Pinky revealed that the marriage has been temporarily registered, and with the formulation of necessary laws, it is expected to receive permanent recognition automatically. This development holds the promise of providing legal identities and rights to numerous third-gender couples who have lived without formal acknowledgment.

Maya Gurung expressed her joy after the marriage ceremony, emphasizing the honor felt by both her and Surendra. Local groups, including the Aama Samuha or Mother's Group, joined in celebrating the occasion, reflecting the communal support for this significant step towards inclusivity and equal rights.

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