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December 6, 23

NEWS / In the Name of Love: First-ever same-sex marriage certificate issued in Nepal

Love defied all odds in Nepal as Surendra Pandey and Maya Gurung received their marriage certificate, officially becoming the first same-sex couple in South Asia to have their union legally recognized. Their journey wasn't easy, facing years of legal battles and social stigma, but on November 29th, their love story received a monumental victory. It is worth noting that Gurung identifies as a transgender woman but is legally considered male.

This historic moment marks a giant leap for LGBTQ+ rights in Nepal and beyond. "We have achieved legal recognition, a victory not just for us but for the entire LGBTQ community," Pandey, his voice filled with joy and relief, was quoted by Deutsche Welle as stating. "This opens doors for so many others."

Their path to legal recognition wasn't without thorns. Despite a Supreme Court decree in 2007 requiring the government to allow same-sex marriage, successive governments failed to implement the necessary legislation. Pandey and Gurung, married in a Hindu ceremony in 2017, faced hurdles and rejections in their quest for legal recognition, even after the Supreme Court established an "interim registry" for same-sex couples.

But in a heartwarming turn of events, Nepal's Home Ministry finally authorized local authorities to register same-sex marriages in November. This paved the way for Pandey and Gurung to finally receive their marriage certificate in Dordi, Lamjung District, Gurung's hometown.

This victory wasn't just personal. The local community erupted in celebration, organizing cultural events and dances to honor the couple's journey. The LGBTQ+ community in Kathmandu also joined the festivities, hailing this historic moment as a beacon of hope for a more inclusive future.

Pandey and Gurung, ever the champions of their community, are already looking ahead. They founded "Mayako Pahichan" (Identity of Love), an organization advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and tackling forced marriages among sexual minorities. "We'll persist in fighting for the rights of others," declared Pandey.

In addition to legalizing same-sex marriage, Nepal has also began including the "other" gender category in passports and the censuses. It is the only South Asian country that allows same-sex marriage, with India, Bhutan, and China not having not allowing same-sex marriages or civil unions and Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka having penalties for same-sex sexual intercourse.

A&M Logos International can help you retrieve and apostille / authenticate certified copies of your marriage certificates. Call us today at (212) 233-7061 or e-mail us at info@apostille.us. You may also wish to visit our website.



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