Nepal Supreme Court approves marriage for same sex couples

21 Nov 2008

Caitlin Price at 11:31 AM ET

The Supreme Court of Nepal has directed the country's government to end sexual orientation-based discrimination and to extend equal rights to gender minorities, including same-sex marriage. The order, made Monday, came in a lawsuit brought by several gay rights groups and follows a December 2007 ruling recognizing homosexuals as citizens under the classification "third sex." The latest decision requires that all gender minorities must be defined as "natural persons" under the law and directs the Nepalese government to form a committee to draft a same-sex partnership and marriage act based on legislation in other countries. Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal's first openly gay Member of Parliament and an outspoken proponent of gay rights, called the ruling a "landmark decision." The Hindustan Times has more.

In Europe same-sex marriage is recognized in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway and will shortly be legalised in Sweden. Elsewhere in the world, it is lawful in South Africa, Canada and in the US, same-sex marriages are now permitted in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Earlier this month, same-sex marriage bans passed in California, Arizona, and Florida, leading to nationwide demonstrations and a call from California's Attorney General for the California Supreme Court to examine challenges to the ban's legality.