Supreme Court of Nepal Orders Registration of “Non-Heterosexual” Marriages

The Supreme Court of Nepal has issued an interim order, directing the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) and other concerned ministries to establish a transitional mechanism ensuring the registration of marriages for the traditional non heterosexual couples. This landmark order recognizes the marriage rights of individuals based on their gender identity and sexual orientation, calling for necessary amendments to the provisions related to marriage and registered marriages within the current Civil Code, 2074.

 To facilitate this process, the court further directed the government to establish a separate register of marriages for such couples from sexual and gender minority communities. Until the law is revised, provisional measures will be implemented through appropriate mechenism for all applicants as well as others equal to applicants (meaning any members of sexual and gender minority communities)

This significant development follows a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed on June 7, 2023, by Pinky Gurung (current president of Blue Diamond Societ) and eight other applicants representing the LGBTIQA community. The PIL sought equal recognition and rights for same-sex couples, highlighting the need for legal reforms to ensure the protection and inclusion of all citizens.

As more than 15 years ago, supreme Court issued directive order to amend or scrap all discriminatory laws and to pass same sex marriage law based upon a report from a study committee 

 The committee submitted report 8 years ago recommending full marriage. 

The government and the Parliament has not implemented courts order yet. The civil code passed by the Parliament in 2017 has discriminatory provisions under marriage chapter, article 67 and articles 76, that defines marriage between a man  and a woman only.

Hence this order today from the supreme Court is just and right because the Parliament can’t take forever to ensures citizens rights, equality and non discrimination.

Justice Til Prasad Shrestha, presiding over a single bench, issued the interim order on June 28, 2023 (Ashad 12, 2080). The court has also requested a written response from the respondents regarding this matter.

This is very significant development as same sex as well as transgender people and their partners can register their marriages. They will be entitled to same rights as heterosexual married couples. Parliament may take a while to pass the marriage equality law but this orders gives a very practical solution to members of sexual and gender minority communities who wish to register their marriage legally.

A dedicated legal team, including senior advocate Kedar Dahal and Advocates Prem Chandra Rai, Anurag Devkota, Rounik Aryal, and Pukar Dahal, presented the case on behalf of the petitioners during the preliminary hearing before the Supreme Court.