Actor Nick Offerman addresses homophobic criticism surrounding his role in "The Last of Us" during his acceptance speech at the Independent Spirit Awards.
In a historic moment for Nepal, Lamjung witnessed the country’s inaugural same-sex marriage on Wednesday, marking a significant stride towards inclusivity. The union was officially recorded at the ward 2 office of the rural municipality and involved 27-year-old Surendra Pandey from Kawasoti Municipality-8 in Nawalparasi East and 37-year-old Ram Bahadur Gurung, who prefers to be addressed as Maya, hailing from Dordi Rural Municipality-2 in Lamjung.
Interestingly, Surendra and Maya formalized their marriage legally five years after their initial temple ceremony. Their journey began nine years ago in Kawasoti when they first crossed paths at a local restaurant. Sharing their love story, Maya recounted, “We met in a restaurant and immediately liked each other. After a couple of weeks of courtship, we moved in together.” However, societal and familial acceptance proved elusive, prompting the couple to relocate to Kathmandu. Despite their temple marriage half a decade ago, legal recognition remained elusive until recent developments.
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The turning point came with a groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court on June 27, ordering the government to officially register marriages involving same-sex and non-heterosexual couples. This momentous decision not only validated Surendra and Maya’s commitment but also positioned Nepal as the second Asian nation, after Taiwan in 2019, to recognize and legalize same-sex marriages.
The wheels of change were in motion back in 2015 when the Supreme Court issued a directive to eradicate discriminatory laws against sexual and gender minorities. This included a call to formulate laws acknowledging and supporting same-sex marriages following a thorough study.
Last December, the court further reinforced its commitment to inclusivity by directing the government to grant a non-tourist visa to Tobias Volz, a German national married to Adheep Pokharel, a Nepali citizen, despite initial reluctance from the authorities. The legal landscape continued to evolve as the government, under court directive, provided Volz with a non-tourist visa.
In a related case from 2017, a lesbian couple comprising Suman Panta, a Nepali citizen, and Leslie Luin Melnik, a US national, challenged the government’s denial of a non-tourist visa to the American partner.
Nepal’s journey toward equal recognition and rights for the LGBTQ+ community reflects a growing global trend, with these legal and societal shifts shaping a more inclusive landscape for individuals irrespective of their sexual orientation.