•   Wednesday, 12 Jun, 2024

Historic same-sex marriage registration brings milestone for LGBTQ+ rights in Nepal

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KATHMANDU, Dec 1: "We all got justice," Babu Dumi, an activist of sexual and minority rights and queer community, said, "Nepal has succeeded in changing its history. We have got justice despite facing challenges.” The marriage of Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra Pandey was officially registered in Dordi Rural Municipality of Lamjung on Wednesday. Surendra of Kawasoti Municipality-8 of Nawalparasi and Ram Bahadur of Dordi Rural Municipality-2 of Lamjung got married. This marks the first constitutional same-sex marriage in Nepal. Their marriage was registered on the basis of an interim order passed by the Supreme Court.

Dumi said that the registration of marriage between Surendra and Ram Bahadur is a historic achievement not only for them but for all sexual and minority communities. "This is not normal for us in a country and society like Nepal. After years of struggle, a happy result has come. It is not only the victory of Ram Bahadur and Surendra but also a success for the entire sexual and minority community,” Dumi said, "It feels like a dream. We are very happy.”

According to the National Census 2078 BS, the population of sexual and gender minorities is 2,928. This is 0.01 percent of the total population. Similarly, various studies have shown that 2 percent of people in the world identify as sexual and gender minorities.

Similarly, former MP and former executive director of Blue Diamond Society, Sunil Babu Pant, said that this marriage was a historic success for the LGBTQ+ community. Pant said that this achievement was made due to the continuous efforts of Ram Bahadur and Surendra and other community members and various organizations and the media. Pant said, "Yes, the official marriage of Ram Gurung and Pandey was registered. This is a huge milestone for us. The pivotal aspect lies in the recognition of marriage with identity, paving the way for other couples.” Pant said that this marriage was successful with the support of the Supreme Court, Department of National Id and Civil Registration and local administration.

While an interim order from the Supreme Court initially prohibited same-sex couples from marrying, the determination of Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra Pandey, supported by nine others, led to a legal battle. Despite initial setbacks in the local body and district court, the couple filed a case at the High Court and eventually succeeded in registering their marriage with the assistance of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Department of National ID and Civil Registration, and local administration on Wednesday.

Pointing out that there are discriminatory policies and legal provisions of the state towards sexual and minority communities, Pant said that this marriage registration has succeeded in breaking them to some extent. Pant said that despite this achievement, the government should ensure economic rights, professional rights, and proportional participation in tourism to this community.

Pant said, "The government should make policies so that these communities can participate in economic activities. There is a provision for proportional participation in the constitution itself.”

Similarly, Blue Diamond Society President Pinky Gurung said that the marriage registration of Ram Bahadur Gurung and Surendra pandey has set a precedent for same-sex marriage. Stating that she was relieved by this achievement until the law is made, Pinky said, "We have appreciated this work of the government. We have welcomed this decision." “This path has been opened with the help of many groups of friends and local efforts.” Pinky stated.

Pinky said that the decision of the government was accepted with joy and happiness and that it opened the first door for sexual and minority rights. Rights have not been fully established yet. But it has become the basis for deciding the law.'' Pinky said that this decision will put significant pressure on the lawmakers for fully official marriage registration of sexual and gender minority communities. In addition, Pinky said, “It serves as a strong foundation for advocating about the rights of sexual and gender minority communities. This decision is not everything. A differential arrangement with the state is yet to be advocated. But this decision has also paved the way for other rights.”

The first marriage officially registered by the administration has raised hopes of establishing the rights of this community. But saying that this is not the last achievement, Pinky said that they will not be satisfied until the government gives full legal recognition and rights to the right of marriage and will continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities.

 


Source: myRepublica
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