Lesbian couple make history as first to have their marriage recognised in Nepal

A lesbian couple have become the first to have their marriage legally recognised in Nepal. (Getty)

A lesbian couple has made history as the first to have their marriage recognised by the Nepalese government. 

In the capital city of Kathmandu, Anju Devi Shrestha and Suprita Gurung, both 33, became the first lesbian couple to register their marriage with the authorities, the Deccan Herald reported.

Shrestha, from western Nepal, and Gurung, from the Syangia district, registered their marriage in Jamuna Rural Municipality of Bardiya district on 11 February. 

Though Nepal already registered same-sex marriage formally, their marriage marks the first time a lesbian couple have had their nuptials registered.

Following their officiated marriage certificate, the activist group Mayako Pahichan Nepal (Recognition of Love) expressed their happiness at the historical moment in a statement. 

“The Nepalese LGBT communities have launched a campaign for identity-based rights of the sexual minority communities since 2001 and the campaign has become successful in getting officially registered same-sex marriage after more than two decades of struggle.”

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Surendra Pandey, the general secretary of Mayako Pahichan Nepal said a press conference was also organised on 12 February to formally make the occasion public and to celebrate the win for the LGBTQ+ community in Nepal. 

Back in November, LGBTQ+ couple Surendra Pandey and Maya Gurung were the first to receive official same-sex marriage status at the Dorje village. 

According to Human Rights Watch, Pandey is a Cisgender man and Gurung is a transgender woman – though she is legally recognised by Nepal as a male, meaning their marriage falls under the category of same-sex marriage.

The couple were married back in 2017 in a temple, in keeping with Hindu tradition, with friends and family present, but did not get an official marriage certificate at the time to legalise their union.

Since their wedding ceremony seven years ago, the two have been living like a married couple, along with their pet dog Suru.

Nepal is now the second Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage, following closely behind Taiwan, whose parliament passed a law to legalise marriage equality in 2019.

It is now expected that Thailand could be the third Asian country to follow suit after the country’s cabinet approved an equality bill last year.