Committee urges Nepal to legalise equal marriage

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A committee in Nepal has urged the country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The recommendation was made in the wake of a 2007 ruling by the Nepalese Supreme Court, stating that the government must provide legal protections to LGBT Nepalese citizens and amend laws that discriminated against them.

As part of the ruling, the court ordered officials to form a committee to study the possibility of legalising same-sex marriage.

The committee last week recommended that Nepal should legalise the measure.

“They (same-sex couples) will be entitled to pension or any other benefits, inheritance, can register their marriage with government agencies, can receive parental property,” human rights lawyer Hari Phuyal, a panel member, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Officials from both the ruling centre-left coalition and other parties have refused to say whether they will back the recommendations, which were submitted by the government-appointed panel of experts last week.

If adopted it could mean that Nepal becomes the first Asian country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Nepal has become increasingly progressive since a decade-long Maoist rebellion ended in 2006, but there is still no clear legislation protecting LGBT rights.

Last month the government announced plans to issue passports with a third gender option for citizens who do not identify as male or female.