In a landmark verdict, the apex court in Nepal has given its consent to same-sex marriages, a move that beats off social taboos in the conservative valley.
The apex court on Monday directed the Maoist-led government in Nepal to formulate necessary laws to guarantee full rights to gays, including right to same-sex marriage.
"The court has instructed the government against making any discrimination on the basis of sex. This is a landmark decision for the sexual minorities and we welcome it," Sunil Babu Panta, a leading gay activist in South Asia and Nepal's only lawmaker in the Constituent Assembly representing the community, said.
"The court ordered the government to form a seven member committee to formulate laws that recognize same-sex marriages in European countries, ending all types of discriminations against gays and lesbians," Panta said.
The ruling caps last year's defining verdict where the court had decided to recognise gay identity and granted them citizenship. There is now a separate column for the third sex in the citizenship certificate.
"The Supreme Court's order also includes the right to own property and right to employment," Panta said.
Same sex marriage are prevalent in South Africa, South Korea, Canada, UK, Spain, France and other European countries, he said. However, there is no such law in India, he added.
After the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Blue Diamond Society, a gay rights organisation, for the first time publicly arranged a same-sex marriage in the country in 2006. Since then half a dozen gay marriages have taken place in Nepal.
"However, an official registration of such marriages was not possible in the absence of an act. Now with the apex courts new decision, laws will be formulated soon to provide legal recognition to same-sex marriage," Panta said.