The Supreme Court in Nepal issued an interim order last week that allows registration of same-sex marriages, symbolizing a big step toward equality.
Though the order is positive move, same-sex marriage is still not fully legal in the South Asian country. The order is a result of a petition filed by gay rights activists who have been working toward marriage equality for same-sex couples as well as “third gender” people, a phrase that is legally used on government documents in Nepal for people who do not identify as a man or woman.
According to Reuters, following the end of Maoist rebellion in 2006, the country’s population has grown “increasingly progressive.” In 2007, the Supreme Court ordered the government to protect LGBTQ+ people by ending discrimination.
Gay activists have spoken about their enthusiasm for this move, including Sunil Babu Pant, former parliament member and LGBTQ+ activist, who told AP: “At a personal level, for those who are living together it is a huge victory. Practically, they can register their marriage and their rights can be immediately exercised.”
Many same-sex couples in Nepal have been unofficially married for years, unable to acquire the appropriate documents to legally recognize their union. The interim order presents a triumph for those who have waited patiently for their love to be recognized. In legalizing same-sex marriage, Nepal would follow in the footsteps of Taiwan, the only other Asian country to do so.