Nepal Becomes First South Asian Nation To Register Same-Sex Marriage

Nepal achieves a historic milestone as the first South Asian nation to officially register a same-sex marriage, a significant victory for LGBTQ+ rights.

Avishka Tandon
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Image Credit: PTI

Nepal proudly announces its position as the first South Asian country to officially register a same-sex marriage. This historic moment, marking a triumph for love and equality comes five months after Nepal's Supreme Court took the progressive step of legalising same-sex marriages.


A Landmark Moment in Dordi Rural Municipality

Trans-woman Maya Gurung, 35, and Surendra Pandey, 27, a gay individual, became the pioneering couple to legally formalise their union. The ceremony took place in the picturesque Dordi Rural Municipality of Lamjung district in western Nepal. Sanjib Gurung Pinky, president of the Blue Diamond Society—an organisation championing the rights and welfare of sexual minorities in Nepal—confirmed the registration of their marriage.

A Long-Awaited Victory

Nepal's journey towards recognising same-sex marriage dates back to 2007, when the Supreme Court first granted permission for such unions. The 2015 Constitution of Nepal further solidified the commitment to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, it wasn't until June 27, 2023, that the Supreme Court issued an interim order, effectively legalising same-sex marriage.

Despite the historic order, the Kathmandu District Court, just four months ago, rejected a same-sex marriage application, citing a lack of specific legal provisions. Surendra Pandey and Maya experienced this setback firsthand when their marriage application faced rejection.

The Joyous Outcome


"It's a great pleasure to learn about this; it is a great achievement for us, the third gender community of Nepal," Pinky expressed.

The joy resonates not just within Nepal but across the entire South Asian region. The couple, living together for six years with the approval of their families, represents hope for other third-gender couples longing for legal recognition.

Pinky emphasized the broader impact of this landmark event, stating, "There are many third-gender couples living without their identities and rights, and this is going to help them a lot."

With the temporary registration of Surendra and Maya's marriage, a path has been paved for others within the community to follow suit. Pinky believes that, once necessary laws are formulated, these unions will receive permanent recognition automatically.

Nepal Allows Same-Sex Marriage Registration

The decision comes about 15 years after the SC recognised the rights of the LGBTQA+ community and guaranteed them all the human and legal rights offered to any other citizen, including the right to marry. However, the government did not make provisions for the legal registration of same-sex marriages. The bench, headed by Judge Til Prasad Shrestha, reportedly asked the government to provide a written response on what provisions have been made for the registration of marriage between LGBTQ couples.


The court gave the government 15 days to provide it with the legal framework for the registration of marriages of sexual minorities in writing. The court reportedly declared same-sex marriages to be registered as temporary. It backed its decision by citing the right to marriage as per the Civil Code 2074's clause 69(1) and the right to equality as per clause 18(1) of the Constitution of Nepal.

The Nepal Supreme Court's interim order comes as a landmark decision regarding the rights of the LGBTQ community in the country and the world. Nepal's neighbour  India is, however, not ready to legalise same-sex marriage, despite being one of the most significant and influential democracies in the world. 

Suggested Reading: LGBTQ People Facing Increasing Persecution Globally

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