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Nepal create history as first South Asian nation to Officially register same-sex marriage

In Dordi village, Lumjung district, located in the western part of the Himalayan country, a formal marriage registration took place between 36-year-old Ram Bahadur (Maya) Gurung, who was born male but identifies as female, and 26-year-old Surendra Pandey, who was born male and identifies as male .

By Team Pardaphash 
Updated Date

Nepal has officially recorded its first same-sex marriage, five months after the Supreme Court legalized such unions. The formal registration took place in Dordi Rural Municipality in the Lamjung district of Western Nepal, where 35-year-old trans-woman Maya Gurung and 27-year-old gay man Surendra Pandey legally married. This historic event, confirmed by Sanjib Gurung (Pinky), the president of Blue Diamond Society—an organization advocating for the rights of sexual minorities in Nepal—marks the country as the first in South Asia to formally recognize and register a same-sex marriage following the Supreme Court’s decision.

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Nepal had initially granted permission for same-sex marriage in 2007, a stance reinforced by the 2015 constitution, explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, on June 27, 2023, the Supreme Court issued an interim order, prompted by a writ petition led by individuals, including Gurung, to officially legalize same-sex marriage. Despite this groundbreaking decision, the Kathmandu District Court rejected the move four months ago, citing the absence of requisite legal frameworks, leading to the rejection of Surendra Pandey and Maya’s marriage application at that time.

Sanjib Gurung expressed delight at the recent development, emphasizing its significance for the third gender community in Nepal. This marks not only the first case in Nepal but also in the entirety of South Asia. The temporary registration of the marriage is seen as a positive step, and after the formulation of necessary laws, it is expected to gain permanent recognition automatically.

Surendra Pandey, originally from Nawalparasi district, and Maya Gurung, from Lamjung district, had entered into a traditional marriage with the consent of their families, and they have been living as a married couple for the past six years. Pinky noted that many third-gender couples are currently living without their identities and rights, and this milestone provides hope for others in the community to legalize their marriages.

Maya Gurung expressed gratitude for the decision, stating, “We both, Surendra and I, are here at Dordi in Lamjung to celebrate the occasion together. Aama Samuha or the local Mother’s Group is also joining together with us. We felt greatly honoured by the decision to register our marriage.

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