Nepal's First Legally Recognized Queer Marriage: Ram Bahadur Gurung & Surendra Pandey Script History

The marriage registration of the queer couple in Dordi Rural Municipality, Lamjung, succeeded with the aid of home ministry officials. The Department of National ID and Civil Registration issued a letter, prompting adjustments in the online form to incorporate provisions for marriages involving same-sex partners.
The successful registration of the marriage between Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra Pandey in Dordi Rural Municipality, Lamjung, was made possible with the assistance of home ministry officials.
The successful registration of the marriage between Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra Pandey in Dordi Rural Municipality, Lamjung, was made possible with the assistance of home ministry officials.

Kathmandu - While we often look to Western nations for examples of progressiveness, our nearby neighbors have been practicing it for an extended period. The Himalayan nation of Nepal scripted history as the first queer couple there got married. Nepal is the first South Asian country to recognize non-heterosexual marriages.

The successful registration of the marriage between Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra Pandey in Dordi Rural Municipality, Lamjung, was made possible with the assistance of home ministry officials. The Department of National ID and Civil Registration issued a letter, leading to a modification in the online form to include provisions for same-sex marriages.

Sunil Babu Pant, a former openly gay member of parliament and a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights in the country, has been quoted by the local media saying, “After 23 years of struggle, we got this historic achievement, and finally, Maya and Surendra got their marriage registered at the local administration office.”

This progress stemmed from a Supreme Court interim order in response to a writ petition filed by the Blue Diamond Society, an LGBTQIA+ community umbrella organization. The court mandated the government to permit the registration of same-sex marriages.

Despite the absence of the Dordi Rural Municipality Chair, officials facilitated the registration process. Ram Bahadur Gurung, now known as 'Maya,' expressed joy after overcoming challenges and making multiple trips. Having been previously married with two children, Gurung had to furnish certified divorce papers and property documents for the application.

Material Benefits of Same-Sex Marriage Registration

The initial impact is the enhancement of their mental well-being. When individuals experience a sense of security, it positively influences their productivity, overall health, and happiness. Consequently, there is an improvement in economic productivity, and this is likely to contribute to increased tourism in Nepal.

However, it's crucial to note that the mere registration doesn't automatically ensure that same-sex couples will immediately enjoy identical benefits. Further legal interventions will be necessary, possibly through court proceedings. The act of the Registrar registering these marriages serves as a catalyst for the government to address legal implications and implement necessary changes.

In essence, this signifies the official recognition and equality of same-sex marriages, akin to heterosexual unions. This recognition opens avenues for couples to engage in joint financial endeavours, such as shared bank accounts and jointly owning properties, mirroring the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

History of Nepali Supreme Court’s Liberal Orders Regarding Non-Traditional Relations

Nepal's Supreme Court has earned global acclaim for its series of decisions in support of the rights of the LGBTQ community, even though the practical implementation of these decisions has been inconsistent. In 2001, the Supreme Court issued a ground breaking decree that bestowed equal rights, encompassing the right to be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, upon all individuals within the queer community.

In 2007, the court mandated the government to form a committee to delve into the subject of same-sex marriage. Subsequently, in 2015, this committee recommended that the government should provide legal recognition to same-sex marriages based on the fundamental principle of equality. Unfortunately, successive administrations failed to present legislation to the parliament, necessitating further court interventions.

Currently, Nepal's civil code exclusively recognizes marriages between individuals of opposite genders. .

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