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First same-sex marriage registered in Nepal

Nepal registered its first same-sex marriage on Wednesday, five months after the nation’s Supreme Court gave an interim order allowing same-sex couples to register their marriage.

According to Reuters, officials say the marriage was registered in the Dordi rural municipality office in the Lumjung district in west Nepal. The newly married couple is Ram Bahadur (Maya) Gurung, who was born male but identifies as female, and Surendra Pandey, who was born and identifies as male.

“We have issued the marriage registration certificate to the couple in consideration of the Supreme Court order and instructions from relevant government authorities,” said Hem Raj Kafle, chief administrative officer of the Dordi rural municipality, according to Reuters.

The interim order issued in June allows same-sex couples to register their marriage while waiting for a final verdict from the Supreme Court. Activists say the decision will open doors for many couples in Nepal.

“It is historic,” Sunil Babu Pant, founder of a gay rights organization in Nepal called the Blue Diamond Society, told Reuters. “It will open the door for them to jointly open bank accounts, own and transfer property like just any other couples.”

The couple say they are enjoying married life.

“We are both very happy. Like us, all others in our community are happy too,” Pandey said in a phone interview with Reuters.

Taiwan and Nepal are the only countries in Asia that have legalized same-sex marriage. However, the Human Rights Campaign believes India, Japan, Philippines and Thailand could be close to legalizing same-sex marriage.

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