Nepal gets LGBT protections, possibly marriage
September 17th, 2015
In November 2008, it came to our attention that the Supreme Court of Nepal, a small Himalayan landlocked country between India and China, was pushing the nation to include protections and rights for LGBT citizens (it should be noted that Nepalese perspectives about gender and sexuality are probably different from that of Western societies, but LGBT likely adequately encompasses the ruling.)
In January of 2010, it appeared that LGBT protections, including marriage rights, were to be included in the nation’s new constitution and that the deadline for implementation was May 28, 2010.
But that date passed and political turmoil in Nepal’s parliament hindered the passage of the constitution. And not just for a brief while. Year after year has passed and nothing resulted but turmoil and strife.
But in April of this year, an earthquake registering on the Richter Scale at about 8.0, changed the nation’s priorities. About 9,000 people died and tens of thousands of others were injured. Ancient architectural landmarks were destroyed and entire villages were wiped out, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. The nation’s response was abysmal, and much of the chaos was blamed on a lack preparedness due to political squabbling.
Suddenly the political differences seemed less important.
And finally, more than five years late, the constitution has been approved. (Time)
The landlocked Himalayan nation’s parliament passed the constitution on Wednesday with 507 out of 601 members of its Constituent Assembly voting in favor, Agence France-Presse reported.
The new charter replaces an interim constitution that has governed the country since 2007, when a decadelong civil war culminated in the end of its Hindu monarchy.
And it does appear that specific LGBT protections are in place: (HRC)
Article 12 states that citizens will be allowed to choose their preferred gender identity on their citizenship document. The choices available are male, female or other.
Article 18 states that gender and sexual minorities will not be discriminated against by the state and by the judiciary in the application of laws. It further adds that the government may make special provisions through laws to protect, empower and advance the rights of gender and sexual minorities and other marginalized and minority groups.
Article 42 lists gender and sexual minorities among the groups that have a right to participate in state mechanisms and public services to promote inclusion.
It remains to be seen whether these changes include marriage rights. However, as the Supreme Court has in the past directed that the government provide such rights, it seems likely that they will broadly interpret Article 18 and marriage equality may finally come to Asia.
Nepal’s marriage equality delayed
May 31st, 2010
Nepal’s new constitution was to have been implemented by last week, with clauses allowing for same-sex marriage. But political instability and strife has led to a delay. (The Hindu)
Nepal’s political deadlock continues even after three major political parties made an agreement on Friday night to move ahead with consensus, extending the tenure of the Constituent Assembly.
The three parties had made a last-minute agreement on Friday to save the Constituent Assembly, which was to expire that night.
The Constituent Assembly has now one more year to finish the task of writing the Constitution which could not be completed in the last two years.
Same-sex marriage delayed in Nepal
May 12th, 2010
Nepal was scheduled to implement their new constitution no later than May 28, 2010, a document that guaranteed marriage equality. It appears that this deadline will not be met. (hindustan times)
A specially elected constituent assembly has until May 28 to complete the draft of the nascent Himalayan republic’s first constitution, two years after it got rid of the monarchy.
But assembly chairman Subas Nemwang said the panel, dominated by the Maoist former rebels, still had a long list of chores and could take at least four months to complete the task.
“There are difficulties to meet the May 28 deadline. We don’t have enough time to follow the procedures and rules,” Nemwang said.
The delay could be destabilizing, and violence could resume. Should this process not go smoothly, this will reduce the likelihood of Nepal becoming Asia’s first nation to institute marriage equality.
The race for eighth (and ninth and tenth)
April 14th, 2010
With Italy now out of the running, the big question is which nation will be the eighth to recognize same-sex marriage. The contestants are:
Portugal – the legislature passed the bill. The President sent it to the supreme court which approved the bill. And now he has until about the end of the month to either veto or sign it. It vetoed, there are probably enough votes to overturn. The time frame is between immediately and early May.
Nepal – it is believed that same-sex marriage will be included in the new constitution. This should be in place no later than May 28, 2010.
Iceland – the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News is reporting:
The Sigurdardóttir administration presented the bill to Parliament on March 23. The bill’s passage is expected soon, and same-sex marriage could become legal as early as June 27
Luxembourg – the Minister of Justice said in January that marriage would be legalized by the legislature’s summer break.
Argentina – Although the administration intends to legalize marriage, without a law in place several judges are fighting over whether to grant couples the right to marry. In addition to the male couples previously reported, two women have now legally married in Buenos Aires (Santiago Times):
Two women that were exiled during the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976/1983) were married Friday in Buenos Aires, the first wedding among lesbians in the country, reported the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Federation of Argentina, or FALGBT.
Norma Castillo, from Uruguay, and Ramona Arevalo, Argentine, were married by Judge Elena Liberatori after having requested legal protection within the framework of the campaign “Same right, same names,” which the LGBT Argentine Federation has been carrying out for several months. They are both 67 years old and have been a couple for over 30 years.
Slovenia – the Family Law Bill does appear to continue to move forward but it is difficult to figure out just where things stand.
Cyprus – this tiny island seems to have dropped out of the race. Earlier this week the Cypriot government continued pondering the issue but the language now seems to focus on “partnerships”. (Cyprus Mail)
THE GOVERNMENT will take “seriously” the Ombudswoman’s latest report recommending legal reforms to allow same-sex partnerships, said Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides yesterday.
“No decision has been taken. It is something we have to study a bit further. We have not closed the issue, it remains open,” he said.
Savvides told the Sunday Mail that the various departments will continue to examine the issue and reconvene after June to discuss the matter.
Nepal Courts Gay Tourism
March 15th, 2010
Nepal, an otherwise conservative Hindu nation, is not only looking to go after gay tourism dollars to pull itself out of poverty, but they seem intent on making real, tangible advances in LGBT rights:
Just five years ago, police were beating gays and transsexuals in the streets. Now, the issue of gay rights is almost passe here. Nepal has an openly gay parliamentarian, it is issuing “third gender” identity cards and it appears set to enshrine gay rights — and possibly even same-sex marriage — in a new constitution. “(It) is not an issue anymore, for anybody,” said Vishnu Adhikari, a 21-year-old lesbian. “Society has basically accepted us.”
Nepal has been popular for decades among backpakers who spend very little and are seen a stingy by the locals. Tourism authorities see the LGBT market as being significantly more lucrative. They’re thinking weddings at the base of Mt. Everest and elephant safaris would be a big draw. I’m thinking that cashing in some airline miles is a tempting idea.
International Marriage Update
March 4th, 2010
Several nations are competing to become the eighth to offer full civil marriage recognition to same sex couples. It is likely that at least three, possibly four, will change their laws by summer.
Portugal – The parliament has now finalized the language of the bill and around the first of the month sent it to President Cavaco Silva. Silva is a member of the PSD party and has spoken in the past in opposition to same-sex marriage recognition. It is uncertain what he will do.
Silva has four choices. He can sign the bill, send it to the Supreme Court within 8 days, or refuse to sign it and return it to Parliament within 20 days (a form of veto). Prime Minister José Sócrates has stated that he has the requisite two-thirds vote to overturn a Presidential veto.
Nepal – This Asian nation is scheduled to implement a new constitution by May 28, 2010. This new constitution is reported to have marriage equality provisions. Nepal has been capitalizing on this change in hopes of increasing tourism.
Luxembourg – This tiny duchy has had civil partnership laws since 2004. However, at the end of January, Minister of Justice François Biltgen announced that the nation would legalize civil gay marriage before Parliament’s summer break. Gay couples will not be allowed to adopt.
Iceland – This vast island with its hardy but tiny population has had registered partnerships since 1996. The current government, helmed by lesbian Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is committed to changing the law to enact marriage equality. Although no time line is currently reported, as of 18 November 2009, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights confirmed that the government was working on such an act.
This is not likely to be a highly controversial issue in Iceland. Only one lawmaker voted against the 1996 partnerships and the 2006 upgrade was passed unanimously.
Argentina – There have now been two legal same-sex marriages in that country opening up a precedent, if not exactly law. However, the current governmental leadership has indicated support for marriage equality and there are bills currently under consideration. Although movement forward was scheduled for last November, but parliamentary procedures were used to delay the decision until 2010. The two judicially authorized marriages may be seen as impetus for the legislature to enact marriage as a matter of legislation rather than concede to judicial mandate.
Cyprus – The Attorney-general’s office, Law Commissioner, Ombudswoman, and senior representatives of the relevant government ministries will meet this month to discuss whether the island off the coast of Turkey and Syria will adopt marriage equality.
To make the race even more uncertain, the European Court of Human Rights heard testimony last week from an Austrian couple suing for marriage rights. On Tuesday, the court determined that Poland could not treat a gay man and his partner differently than a married couple. It is expected to announce within the next few months whether European states can deny marriage to same-sex couples or whether civil unions, such as those adopted by Austria at the first of the year, were sufficient to protect equal rights.
So we see movement in Europe, Asia, and the Americas and at the most northern and most southern parts of the globe. And, of course, we may always be surprised by an unexpected nation taking this step, as well as determinations in the European . But, whichever moves first, it will certainly be a spring to remember.
Slovenia – This eastern neighbor of Italy, and former portion of communist Yugoslavia, has already begun the process of changing their laws to allow for marriage equality. Their legislature voted yesterday to advance the bill.
Nepal to get an LGBT Centre
February 3rd, 2010
In advance of the implementation in May of their new constitution which will allow same-sex marriage, and as part of their effort to become a tourist destination for gay travelers, the nation of Nepal is continuing to demonstrate their acceptance and welcome of gays and lesbians.
Nepal is all set to have Asia’s first LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Trans-sexual) regional centre, a lawmaker said on Wednesday, Feb 3.
The centre with a conference capacity of 300 people will be ready within three years at the cost of around USD 2 million.
The LGBT centre will be equipped with a theatre, workshop facility, gallery, library, cafeteria, playground, health clinic, gym and swimming pool among other things.
Those who were considering a trip to Hawaii this year may wish to splurge on an exotic picturesque location. And how cool would it be to tell your neighbors, “Yeah, our state may not recognize it, the when we married at the foot of Mt. Everest, the nation of Nepal treated our marriage with respect and dignity.”
Nepal to be first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage
January 23rd, 2010
In November we noted that the Supreme Court of Nepal had determined that sexual minorities were entitled to all the rights and remedies all other Nepali citizens enjoyed. Now they are a step closer to enacting that decision.
Reports from the Himalayan nation reveal that a new constitution will be adopted in May which will include equality provisions allowing for same-sex marriage. And Nepal wants to capitalize on the change to attract gay tourists. (Telegraph)
Sunil Babu Pant, a Communist legislator and leader of the country’s homosexual rights movement, has launched a travel company dedicated to promoting the former Hindu kingdom to gay tourists in an effort to tap the so-called “Pink Pound” and dollar.
The company will offer elephant-back bridal processions, Everest base camp ceremonies and weddings in remote Tibetan enclaves in the Himalayan republic.
Mr Pant is hoping to build on the government’s new determination to maximise income from tourism by targeting all potential markets. The country’s tourism minister wrote a welcome statement for the International Conference on Gay and Lesbian Tourism in Boston last October, in which he said he believed Nepal will benefit from an increase in gay visitors.
After disappointments in New York and New Jersey at the end of last year, it looks as though this spring will bring us the eighth (Portugal) and ninth (Nepal) nations to adopt marriage equality.
Nepal to Offer Same-Sex Marriage?
November 18th, 2008
The Hindustan Times is reporting that the Supreme Court of Nepal is pushing the government towards recognition of same-sex couples:
The Supreme Court on Monday delivered full judgement regarding a ground-breaking verdict it had announced last year, recognising sexual minorities, who were among the most oppressed in conservative, patriarchal Nepali society, as being born such and entitled to all the rights and remedies all other Nepali citizens enjoyed.
Now, following up on the judgement, the top court has asked the Maoist government to form a seven-member committee to study same sex partnership/marriage acts in other countries and recommend a similar act to the Nepal government.