Nepal should legalize gay marriage, says a committee charged with implementing a 2007 Supreme Court ruling to improve LGBTI rights in the south Asian country.
The same-sex marriage study committee, led by former secretary of the ministry of health and population Laxmi Raj Pathak, finally submitted its report yesterday (9 February), more than four years after its formation.
The report recommended that Nepal follow ‘positive international trends towards homosexuality’ and extend marriage rights to gay couples and equal protections for the partners and their children.
The committee also advised changes to the criminal and civil code bills tabled in parliament, which include discriminatory provisions against LGBTI people.
LGBTI organization Blue Diamond Group called on the government to implement the recommendations without delay.
‘This is such a fantastic news, despite it has taken all the years the report is very good based upon justice and equality, without any prejudice,’ said founder Sunil Pant in a statement.
‘Many countries in the world have same sex marriage law or civil union or similar legal provision to honor same sex relationship, but the possibility of Nepal becoming the first country to recognize same sex marriage in Asia is exciting.
‘Once the law is enacted many sexual and gender minorities will be free from forced marriage into heterosexual marriage, which still alarmingly high in south Asia.’
Pant told Gay Star News that the government now had two options. One was to amend the draft civil code that is already in parliament to include gay couples.
‘This will be the quickest and easiest way to go about it,’ he said.
Or the government could take the longer route, which would be to ask the ministry of justice to draft a gay marriage bill, then send it through parliament.
‘The possibility of Nepal becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage is very much there but all depends upon which option government will take and how fast the government take actions,’ he said.
‘Nepal will have the marriage equality law, it’s just a matter of time.’