Nepal’s Maya Gurung (R) and Surendra Panday wear traditional attire as they take part in a gay Pride parade in Kathmandu, Nepal, in August. On Wednesday, their marriage became the first officially recognized by the South Asian nation. File Photo by Narendra Shrestha/EPA-EFE
Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Nepal on Wednesday became the first South Asian nation to officially recognize the legality of same-sex marriage when a 1997 marriage between a transgender woman and a gay man was registered.
Maya Gurung and Surenda Pandey's marriage was registered in western Nepal.
Nepal's 2015 constitution banned discrimination against sexual orientation. But that did not automatically make same-sex marriage legal in Nepal.
The nation's Supreme Court in June ordered the government to recognize same-sex marriage based on the equality principle articulated in the constitution.
Sanjib Gurung, president of the Blue Diamond Society rights group in Nepal, said, "It's a great pleasure to learn about this. It is a great achievement for us, the third gender community of Nepal. There are many third-gender couples living without their identities and rights and this is going to help them a lot."
Nepal's Supreme Court earlier this year also ordered the government to recognize a German same-sex marriage to a Nepali national.
Adheep Pokhrel and Tobias Volz were denied a visa in 2018 after getting married legally in Germany.
The Supreme Court used an interim order to allow same-sex couples to legally register marriages as Nepal's government crafted legislation to change the civil code to formally make same-sex marriage legal.
Gurung and Pandey tried and failed to get their marriage registered after the Supreme Court's July order as lawsuits they filed in Kathmandu District Court and High Court were rejected.
Nepal's Home Ministry changed regulations this week to allow Nepal's first same-sex marriage to finally be registered officially.