Zero progress towards legalizing same sex marriage

Kathmandu( Pahichan) July 30 -Recently, United States’ Supreme Court legalised same sex marriage nationwide, a move that was celebrated by LGBT supporters all over the world, including in Nepal.

However, there seems to have been no progress, after a report was submitted earlier this year that suggested Nepal legalise unions of such kind.In February, a committee of experts formed in 2010 to carry out a feasibility study had submitted a report to Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudyal. It recommended Nepal adopt same sex marriage, family protections and strike out discriminatory provisions from the civil and criminal codes

Sources say the report should have been forwarded to Law Ministry for the purpose of preparing a draft law but it has been forwarded to Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare which has created confusions about formulating law.

However, Ministry is preparing to reach a conclusion after holding consultation with concerned stakeholders on the issue. Ministry sources said no committee has been formed to speed up the process of formulating law. The Ministry is preparing to launch some awareness campaign on the gender and sexual minorities.

Nepal’s history of LGBTI is fairly encouraging and it is considered one of the most liberal countries in the region when it comes to gay rights. History was made in 2006 when Sunil Babu Pant became the first gay parliamentarian in the first Constituent Assembly.

A year later, the Supreme Court ordered the government to end discriminatory practices against LGBTI and Nepal became the first country in the region to decriminalise gay sex.

In 2011, Nepal added a third gender category to its census and earlier this year, the government agreed to issue passports that would insert an “O” for other option in the gender box.