SUJAN PANTA/Pahichan – Historic decision from the Supreme Court of America to legalize same sex marriage last year has been admired and favored by the supporters throughout the world. However, same sex marriage was not a new issue of America. Prior to this the issue of same sex marriage received legalization from supreme courts of almost seventeen nations of the world which now reached to 23 nations. The Supreme Court Verdict that was decided on 5 vs. 4 majorities now has enforced to reject any law of any American state to inhibit same sex marriage and has dismantled any law based on sexual apartheid. (Sexism).
Following the decision of American Supreme court, overwhelming solidarity has been expressed in the support of same sex marriage by the supporters throughout the world through the mass Medias including social Medias. Nepalese people have also welcomed this decision in the support of same sex marriage by showing solidarity in social Medias. People from sexual and gender minorities community and even those with homophobic tendency, expressed their solidarity towards this historic decision via social medias which is very positive indeed.
Subsequently after this historic decision, facebook included the new feature named as’ celebrating pride’ which could uphold rainbow flag in the profile pictures. Since couple of days large number of supporters throughout the world, including those of Nepal, has decorated their profile pictures with rainbow flags. This can be taken as evident and positive perspective of awareness and transformation growing in Nepalese society regarding their rights.
Homosexual/Third gender is not unnatural
This abrupt transformation of Nepalese society, from the common perception to criticize, condemn and ridicule LGBTI as unnatural and Western is certainly a positive change. In fact, homosexuality/Third gender was always a pure issue of human rights and always is. All people are born free and equal by birth, is the core of world human rights proclamation. It is an obligation of all aware people to respect others freedom and equality. Homosexuality/third gender issue was neither a western attitude nor an unnatural.
There is deep influence of Hindu philosophy in Nepalese society for very long. In fact, no other religions are as liberal as Hinduism regarding third gender/homosexuality. Even Hindu mythology and epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana have mentioned about third gender and homosexuality. Similarly glimpses of homosexuality can be witnessed in architectures carved in Nepalese temples, which also reinforces the fact about existence of third gender/homosexuals for centuries. So this is neither an unnatural nor an imported issue. It is purely an issue of human rights and should be comprehended and understood accordingly.
Nepalese Supreme Court’s precedence way before American
Most of Nepalese ,who are expressing viral solidarity through rainbow profile picture flags are perhaps oblivious(unaware) of the fact that supreme court of Nepal already made a historic and pioneer decision that ratified the rights and equality of third gender/homosexual in 2007.
The SC ruling came following a writ petition submitted by Blue Diamond Society demanding that the rights of LGBTI individuals of Nepal enjoy equal protection and standing before the law. In response, the Court ordered the government of Nepal to ensure that all individuals have the right to live according to their own identity, and to correct those laws that discriminated against the rights of LGBTI individuals.
Thus the Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal ruled in support of legislation guaranteeing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, and identifying all sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) as “natural persons” under the law. The court decision declared that “the law shall be considered as discriminatory which does not allow the people to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms with their own identity” and ordered the government of Nepal to reform any legislation referring exclusively to men and women and not Third Gender.
Furthermore, the decision ordered the issuing of legal documents, including citizenship cards and passports, with an identity category for Third Gender, and confirmed the right to same-sex marriage under Nepal’s legal framework. This affirmation included directions to form a seven-member committee whose task would be to explore the institutions regulating same sex marriage in other countries, and to subsequently recommend appropriate institutions for Nepal .This was a major breakthrough in the process of rights recognition for sexual minorities in Nepal, who have faced significant levels of discrimination and abuse in this conservative Himalayan country.
Hence Supreme Court of Nepal in many ways had given go ahead to same sex marriage in some way 8 years ago, prior to the decision made by Supreme Court of America to legalize same sex marriage and to ensure the rights of homosexuals/third genders. The supreme courts of several other Nations are found to have used this historic decision as reference while making decision regarding homosexual/third gender issues. Following the decision made by the supreme court of Nepal, Nepal has achieved an image of pioneer and itself landmark in regards to the rights and equality of LGBTI.
The first constitutional assembly appointed Sunil Babu Pant as first ever Asian Member of Parliament representing from homosexual/third gender community. The ministry of Home affairs has amended citizenship Rules and Regulations thus issuing citizenship as ‘other’ in gender column and ministry of Foreign Affairs has amended Passport Rules and Regulations issuing passport as other gender which makes Nepal first country in the world issuing passport of such category. LGBTI community can now enjoy official privilege in the activities such as opening bank accounts, registering telephones lines and operating companies by mentioning ‘other’ as their identity. Indeed, the achievement of Nepal in the field of rights of homosexual/third gender is itself remarkable. Hopefully Nepal will be the first country in Asia and 24th in the world to recognize and legalize same sex marriage.
Indeed, when we analyze and see so much of affirmative changes in terms of LGBTI rights here in Nepal; Nepalese citizens does not need any approval from the supreme court of any nations in order to express their solidarity to LGBTI community through rainbow flag profile pictures in their Facebook the achievement of Nepal itself is remarkable and landmark and full of pride.
This article is the English Translation from the original article published by pahilopost in Nepali.
(Writer is an advocate on)