An initiative for marriage equality for the LGBTQIA+ communityMitini Nepal’s ‘Interaction with Stakeholders’ highlights the lack of marriage equality for gender and sexual minorities.
Mitini Nepal organised an Interaction with Stakeholders on Marriage Equality on Wednesday at the Alfa House Banquet in New Baneshwar, Kathmandu. The organisation advocates for the rights of lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and aimed to foster a meaningful dialogue among diverse stakeholders regarding marriage equality for the gender and sexual minorities community through the event.
Sarita KC, executive director of Mitini Nepal, presented an overview of the current status of marriage equality for gender and sexual minorities. She highlighted the impact of the absence of marriage equality on relationships within these communities, stating, “Because LGBTQIA+ couples lack the right to marry, it creates various problems in their relationships and makes them more vulnerable to violence from their partners."
A video titled ‘Anagarik’, featuring the journey of a same-sex couple, Jyoti and Prabha, and the challenges they faced, including workplace discrimination, citizenship issues and healthcare barriers, was also shown at the event. The video shows the difficulties the couple encountered while trying to obtain a birth certificate for their adopted child.
Laxmi Ghalan, president of Mitini Nepal, said that due to societal rejection, familial disapproval and legal obstacles, LGBTQIA+ couples often experience mental health problems.
The website Marriage Equality for LGBTQ Community, dedicated to promoting marriage equality, was also launched during the event. Besides this, there were discussions on endorsing a letter of approval from various stakeholders as a symbol of ‘unity for marriage equality’.
Advocate Binu Lama of the Women, Law and Development Forum presented a writ petition jointly filed by Mitini Nepal and the Women, Law and Development Forum to the Supreme Court. The petition advocates for marriage equality and challenges the provisions related to marriage in the National Civil Code 2017. It contends that denying marital rights contradicts the promises in the Constitution of Nepal 2015, particularly in Articles 12, 16, 18, and 42.
Lama pointed out that the primary issue lies in how marriage is defined in the National Civil Code 2017, stating, “Right now, it says marriage is acknowledged only when a man and a woman recognise each other as husband and wife through any ceremony or formal act. Unless this definition changes, the community won't gain the rights needed for marriage equality.”
Adding to this, Manisha Dhakal, executive director of Blue Diamond Society, shared the harsh reality of young LGBTQIA+ individuals having to leave Nepal to seek opportunities in countries where same-sex marriage is more accepted. Recognising the role of social acceptance and support in one’s well-being, Badri Pun, chairperson of Inclusive Forum Nepal, called for a friendly and supportive environment where everyone feels included.
In her conclusive remarks, Ghalan stated, “Equal marriage rights for gender and sexual minorities aren’t just about natural rights; they’re closely connected to the bigger topic of human rights. The ongoing legal battle for equal marriage shows the unfortunate reality of how our community’s human rights have been continuously ignored and violated.”