Surendra Pandey and Maya Gurung, an LGBTQ+ couple, became the first to officially register their marriage in Nepal on Wednesday, AP reported.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Nepal since June when the Himalayan nation’s Supreme Court directed the government to create a “separate register” for “sexual minorities and non-traditional couples”.
After an eight-year relationship and six years of cohabitation, 35-year-old trans-woman Gurung – who is legally recognised as a male – and 27-year-old gay man Pandey married at the Dordi rural municipality in western Nepal’s Lamjung district, reported PTI.
The couple had previously been denied recognition of their union by two lower courts despite the Supreme Court’s June directive, according to human rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
“After 23 years of struggle, we got this historic achievement and finally Maya and Surendra got their marriage registered at the local administration office,” said Sunil Babu Pant, an LGBTQ+ rights activist.
“[Their marriage registration] will open the door for them to jointly open bank accounts, own and transfer property like just any other couples,” Pant told Reuters.
Taiwan is the only other place in Asia to recognise same-sex marriages, according to the BBC.
In March, Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to recognise a same-sex union of a Nepali and a German, who had married overseas, according to Human Rights Watch.
The court had in 2007 ordered the Nepali government to appoint a committee to prepare legislation that would recognise same-sex unions in the country.
In 2015, the committee suggested that same-sex marriages be legalised on the basis of the principle of equality, but governments in Nepal have been slow to table the proposed legislation.