After nearly eight years of formal debate and careful consideration, the Nepali Constituent Assembly agreed upon the passage of a new constitution on Wednesday that will provide landmark protections for LGBT citizens.
Hailed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights advocacy organization, as a “historical first for a nation in Asia,” the constitutional breakthrough shields LGBT Nepalis from discrimination, violence, and abuse.
Under the fledgling nation’s first constitution as a federal republic, discrimination against gender and sexual minorities will not be permitted by the judiciary or in the application of laws. Citizens will be also be permitted to choose their preferred gender identity on citizenship documents, as well as promote inclusion and the advancement of sexual and other marginalized and minority groups freely through public services.
President Ram Baran Yadav will bring the new constitution to pass in a judicial ceremony on September 20, which many foresee as paving the way for greater equality in Nepal, as well as the prospect of full marriage equality.
“This is a momentous step forward for LGBT equality in Nepal. The nation’s leadership has affirmed that its LGBT citizens deserve the constitutional right to live their lives free from discrimination and fear,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. “We congratulate LGBT Nepalis and their allies for this historic victory, and hope to see other nations across Asia and the globe take similar steps to ensure full legal equality for their LGBT citizens.”