The Supreme Court of Nepal on Tuesday issued an interim order directing the country’s government to constitute a mechanism to ensure the registration of marriages for same-sex couples, reported The Kathmandu Post.
Although Nepal’s Parliament has not made a law on marriage equality yet, the court order will allow those from the LGBTQ community to register their marriages legally.
The court passed the directive while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pinky Gurung, who heads non-governmental organisation Blue Diamond Society that advocates for the rights of LGBT community.
Following a preliminary hearing, Justice Til Prasad Shrestha concluded that same-sex marriages must be registered as Nepal’s Constitution ensures the right to equality and right to marry any individual.
The court also issued a show cause notice to the Nepalese government, demanding a clarification about the legal options regarding same-sex marriages. The final hearing in the case will begin once the government responds to the notice, reported The Kathmandu Post.
“This is a historic verdict for our community,” Gurung told the newspaper. “Hundreds of couples will benefit from it.”
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Nepal had directed the government to formulate a law on same-sex marriages. However, the Nepalese government has not taken any step in this direction.
This week’s development in Nepal comes after India’s Supreme Court last month reserved its verdict on petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages in the country.
The Narendra Modi government has opposed the petitions, arguing that same-sex marriages are not compatible with the Indian idea of family and that the demands for their legal recognition represent “urban elitist views for the purpose of social acceptance”. It also contended that making laws around marriage is the prerogative of the legislature and the judiciary need not intervene.