News (World)

Lesbian couple makes history in Nepal as first to have their marriage recognized by government

Nepalese Hindu couple exchanging marriage vows
Nepalese Hindu couple exchanging marriage vows Photo: Shutterstock

As LGBTQ+ rights have expanded, countries worldwide have recognized gay and lesbian couples’ right to marry. But while marriage equality has become commonplace in Europe and North and South America, progress has been slower in Africa and Asia.

While Taiwan became the first South Asian country to recognize marriage equality in 2019, Nepal is quickly charging to the forefront by passing another important milestone — its first-ever recognition of a married lesbian couple.

In the capital city of Kathmandu, Anju Devi Shrestha and Suprita Gurung have made history as the first lesbian couple to register their marriage with the authorities.

After the couple got their official marriage certificate, the activist group Mayako Pahichan Nepal said 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.”

In English, the group’s name translates to “Recognition of Love.”

Another queer Nepalese couple made history in the country last year. Maya Gurung, a transgender woman, and Surendra Pandey, a gay man, were wed in 1997 in a traditional Hindu ceremony but were unable to have their marriage recognized by the Nepalese government.

Under the country’s laws, transgender women are unable to change their gender. However, in November 2023, the federal government officially recognized their marriage.

While Taiwan and Nepal recognize same-sex marriages, polling shows that five other Asian nations (plus Hong Kong) are ready to allow queer couples to tie the knot. Thailand’s cabinet recently approved a bill that would legalize same-sex weddings. 

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