Ministry pledges to take LGBTI agenda forwardThe Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has said it would take necessary steps to legalise same-sex-marriage.
Dhan Bahadur Tamang, secretary at the ministry on Thursday promised the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexuals) delegates to move the issue further. He said that they would consult with other ministries to see how to take the issue forward.
A number of laws will have to be amended in order to legalise same-sex marriage in Nepal. “We will talk to stakeholders and discuss
recommendations made by the committee,” he said.
In February, the expert committee formed in 2010 had submitted its report to the government recommending Nepal to adopt same-sex marriage, family protections and strike out discriminatory
provisions from the civil and criminal codes.
The marriage act which will have to be amended falls under the Home Ministry, and the pending civil code under the Law Ministry. However, it is the responsibility of the line ministry to prepare a draft law and submit it to the parliament.
Badri Pun, a transgender man, who was one of the delegates, said they were still sceptical about how things will turn out. “We will have to continue to lobby and knock on their doors. Or else they will just forget all of this,” he said. Nepal’s history of LGBTI is fairly encouraging and it is considered to be one of the most liberal countries in the region when it comes to gay rights. In 2008, Sunil Babu Pant became the first gay parliamentarian. In 2011, Nepal added a third gender category to its census and earlier this year, the government agreed to issue passports that would insert an “O” for other option in the gender box. The recent first draft of the impending constitution, just as the interim constitution, states that no one shall be discriminated on the basis of their sexual
It was in 2007 that the Supreme Court ordered the government to amend all laws discriminatory to the LGBTI community. The formation of the panel was also a result of the verdict. However, it took almost five years for the report to come together. “There are so many hurdles and it might still take time for that day to come when anyone can marry anyone in this country,” said Pun.