Nepal legalises same-sex marriage

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Nepal makes history as first South Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage.

Nepal has become the first country in traditionally conservative South Asia to legally recognise same-sex marriages in a stunning victory for LGBTQ+ rights.

Nepals’ Supreme Court took the historic step of ruling that all same-sex marriages must be legally registered on 28 June.

In an interim ruling, Supreme Court judge Til Prasad Shrestha ordered the Nepalese government to immediately begin the registration of same-sex marriages and non-traditional heterosexual unions, while legislation is prepared to amend the law. 

Until a new legal framework is introduced to uphold same-sex unions permanently, the Supreme Court ruled that a separate register of marriages for same-sex couples must be set up, reportedly giving same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Sunil Pant, a leading campaigner for Nepalese marriage equality and formerly the first only gay member of parliament, spoke of the joyful reaction to the ruling.

“People are already celebrating,” Human Rights Watch reported him as saying. “They are rushing back to their villages to collect documents for their marriages.”

Pant estimates that around 200 same-sex couples could register their marriages in the next few months.

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