News

Nepal (Yes, Nepal) Takes Major Steps Toward Gay Rights

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Nov 19, 2008

Mere weeks after the most populous state in America saw voters approve a ballot initiative to rescind family parity for gays and lesbians, a tiny nation halfway across the world has cleared the way for its gay and lesbian citizens to enjoy fully equal family rights down the road.

Nepal, a profoundly conservative country dominated by Hindus, saw marriage equality upheld by its Supreme Court on Nov. 17, according to a Nov. 19 article posted at Ground Report.

Marriage equality is a direct result of a ruling by the court that issues equal protections under all aspects of the law to GLBT citizens of the nation, which is headed up by a Maoist government.

Marriage equality or a near-equivalent is a matter of law in nations as diverse as Canada, England, France, South Africa, South Korea, and Spain, the article noted.

In the United States, only two states currently recognize marriage equality, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The state of California briefly extended family equality, but that right was stripped from gay and lesbian families in that state with the passage of anti-gay amendment Proposition 8 earlier this month.

In 28 other states, anti-gay constitutional amendments have made access to marriage equality a legal impossibility for gay and lesbian families.

The leader of Nepal's GLBT equality advocate group, the Blue Diamond Society, was quoted in a Nov. 19 story at the Hindustan Times.

Said Sunil Panta, "The court has instructed the government against making any discrimination on the basis of sex.

"This is a landmark decision for the sexual minorities and we welcome it."

Said Panta, "The court ordered the government to form a seven member committee to formulate laws that recognize same-sex marriages in European countries, ending all types of discriminations [sic] against gays and lesbians."

Last year, the court officially acknowledged the existence of gays and lesbians and extended citizenship to them; in Nepal, a "third sex" is recognized for individuals who are attracted to members of their own gender, or who identify with the gender opposite to that of their bodies.

Pointed out Panta, "The Supreme Court's order also includes the right to own property and right to employment."

Ground Report further quoted Panta as looking to the future of global GLBT equality, saying, "I don't think we'll see much momentum on gay issues in the Middle East and Africa beyond what has already happened in Israel and South Africa...

"I think the gay rights movement of the 21st century will be fought in these two areas of the world. Aside from this great ruling in Nepal, we've seen some encouraging signs Asians are finally willing to talk about sexuality."

The Ground Report noted that already the decision is affecting how the GLBT members of other societies in the region view themselves and their prospects, most significantly, India.

The Indian Supreme Court recently turned away a petition to decriminalize same-gender sexual contact between consenting adults.

Said Panta, "Reading this decision my eyes were filled with tears and I felt we are the most proud LGBTI citizens of Nepal in the world."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


Comments

  • , 2008-11-20 15:16:10

    The author refers to Ground Report - http://www.groundreport.com/Politics/Nepal-Jumps-Ahead-on-Gay-and-Transgender-Rights . In this article, a link was provided that cleared up what I had expected http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=&id=d16cd4c7-89f9-4ec6-94c0-83bb477f7515&&Headline=Gay+marriage+gets+court+nod+in+Nepal . The court is asking for a "committee" to discuss the matter. See this is the way it works on this hate loving planet. Heterosexuals get all the rights and Gays and Lesbians must jump through hoops hoping for liberals such as the Bigot Barry in the US to understand. Yes, I am tired of the game. In fact, I am sick of the game. (The term civil marriage needs emphasis in the US to avoid confusion with the sacrament of marriage. Of course, the one is conflated since the same ceremony often finalizes both in a religious setting as allowed in the US. Nations such as France and, I believe, Belgium only allow registrars of the state to perform civil marriage. Couples may do as they wish for any religious ceremony. In the US we use the term civil right and the rest of the world uses human right. The rest of the world is correct and we in the US need to stop degrading our demand.) In South Africa that is noted in the articles, we were given protection in their new constitution. But what happened, another review committee and court. Eventually, South Africa created another marriage law in addition to their two previous laws. That fact of the law was not written of in the press. A noted Gay writer in the US was sent an email by me since he fell for the belief that same-sex marriage was created. What was created was the Civil Union Act with the same-sex couples asked if the union will be "known" as a "marriage or civil partnership." The well-known Gay writer, Wockner, wrote back to me after my explanation and lengthy citation stating that is was the most convoluted thing he had seen. The reason they wrote and used odd explanations is that they had to meander through all the hate. Even in the Philippines, the constitution is much clearer than the US constitution on separation of church and state. But, is that so? Perhaps George Bush was only partly right where the reality is that all constitutions are just pieces of paper - sadly. These are charts I had made for a concern in New Jersey: http://www.gaypasg.org/GayPASG/db/Legal%20Joinings/Legal%20joinings%20and%20recognition%20of%20same-sex%20couples.htm This was the explanation I had done for South Africa: http://www.gaypasg.org/GayPASG/db/Legal%20Joinings/SA%20SSM.htm The charts took a great deal of time since I used the web, articles, books, etc. to gain all the information. Various names and terms are used and I tried to be as close to the meaning as possible without clumping various joinings as had been done by others. One well known professor in Europe, I respect, said some things were not correct. I asked him for details and he did not reply. The charts were backed up with the most current information at the time. As an example, many equate the registered partnership in the UK with marriage. I do not. Without the phrase civil marriage and all its rights meaning equality with opposite-sex couples, international law will not recognize it as such. I even used the term general term "joinings" since many writers use terms interchangeably causing even greater confusion. South Korea also does not have marriage equality or anything near it. Unfortunately that nation is extremely bigoted as a culture. Israel also does not allow same-sex couples to marry in that nation. Fr. Mickley of the Order of St. Aelred had also asked me about this. For those bcc:’d, this is the Order’s website http://www.geocities.com/staelredmonasterymanila . Fr. Mickley is to be commended for the tireless work he has done in the Philippines since moving there in the early 90s. Happy Birthday Fr. Mickley on reaching the age of 80. Each year from this point on in life I see as a gift and may you have many more. The gaypasg website charts have not been updated in several months since I have not been working there recently. George --George DeCarlo, CHConsulting Hypnotist908-342-1275 (cell) End heterosexual oppression of Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals - support full equal rights!


Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook