“Pahichan’s Success: The Journey of Rainbow Marriage Registration”

“Pahichan’s Success: The Journey of Rainbow Marriage Registration”

Nepal’s sexual and gender minority communities have triumphed after a peaceful 23-year struggle, culminating in a significant success on the 13th of Mansir, 2080. The marriage registration of a couple from the sexual and gender minority group, advocating for rights and recognition from the state, marks a pivotal victory. This landmark event not only signifies inclusivity in Nepal’s citizenship law amendment but also showcases Nepal’s stance as a proud, progressive nation on the global stage.

The commendable efforts of LGBTIQ activists, Maya Gurung and Surendra Pandey, have garnered widespread appreciation, portraying them as courageous figures in the eyes of the world.

The official marriage certificate’s issuance has brought Nepal into international discussions, notably in neighboring countries like India. As the first South Asian nation to register ‘rainbow marriages’ for sexual and gender minorities, Nepal’s move has put pressure on the government and Parliament to enact laws securing marriage rights for these citizens.

The journey to implement the Supreme Court’s order issued on 12 Asar 2080 (june 29 2023) took five months. Initially initiated by the state agencies, the Supreme Court’s directive on identity rights, same-sex marriage, and laws friendly to sexual and gender minorities, issued on 6 Paush 2064 (21 December 2007), prompted the subsequent steps. Sunil Babu Pant, a significant advocate in this cause, had been instrumental in these legal pursuits.

The relentless pursuit of marriage registration by Maya and Surendra since 2074 (2017) faced various challenges. Despite their efforts. Eventually, prompted by Sunil Babu’s suggestion, legal experts were consulted, leading to a petition’s preparation for court action.

With persistence and urging from the community, Sunil Babu embarked on an initiative that led to the creation of “Neelo Phool (Blue Flower),” a short film highlighting the challenges faced by the sexual and gender minority communities, especially regarding forced marriages.

While the journey towards marriage registration was fraught with legal battles, the couple’s perseverance was evident. Despite initial success in securing an interim order from the Supreme Court, the path toward registration was met with resistance in the lower courts. Nevertheless, their resolve led them to approach the Patan High Court, where they hoped for a favorable outcome.

Unfortunately, even the Patan High Court’s decision did not overturn the district’s ruling, culminating in a prolonged struggle for Maya and Surendra. Meanwhile, global events, like the retroactive judgments of the Indian Supreme Court against recognizing same-sex marriages, brought further challenges to Nepal’s cause.

Sunil Babu continued his efforts, appealing to rectify the error in the Supreme Court’s order, onvain, then taking Maya and Surendra through local administration for marriage registration applications. Despite setbacks, their resilience led them to the local registrar’s office in Lamjung, initiating the historic process of marriage registration on Nov 29 2023.

This monumental achievement not only marked a personal triumph for Maya and Surendra but also paved the legal way for all sexual and gender minority couples seeking marriage registration. While there were setbacks and challenges, their relentless pursuit finally broke ground, setting a precedent for others in similar situations.

Maya and Surendra’s journey was not just a personal quest but a catalyst for societal change. Acceptance and recognition of same-sex relationships gradually gained ground within homes, families, and society, even influencing state bodies to acknowledge these identities.

The journey encapsulated the struggle, commitment, and eventual triumph of a community striving for equality and recognition. This success not only echoed locally but reverberated globally, showcasing the power of perseverance and collective advocacy for the rights of sexual and gender minorities.

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