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Nepal: Supreme Court Orders Drafting of Same-Sex Partnership/Marriage Law

(Dec. 30, 2008) On November 17, 2008, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a “landmark” ruling ordering the government to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, “to extend equal rights to gender minorities,” and to formulate “a same-sex partnership and marriage act based on legislation in other countries,” according to a report in the online legal news and research service JURIST. (Caitlin Price, Nepal Supreme Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST, Nov. 19, 2008, available at
.) The Court further required that gender minorities be defined as “natural persons” under the law. The ruling, issued in response to a petition lodged by Nepal's Blue Diamond Society and three other gay rights groups, is reportedly being translated into English. (Id.; Tears of Joy for Nepali Gays, Transgender Persons over Supreme Court Decision, UK GAY NEWS, Nov. 17, 2008, available at

In December 2007, the Court had issued a decision that recognized homosexuals as citizens, stating: “[l]esbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex [sic] are natural persons irrespective of their masculine and feminine gender and they have the right to exercise their rights and live an independent life in society,” and calling upon the government to formulate new laws and amend existing ones to safeguard those rights. (Id.; Nepal Court Rules on Gay Rights, BBC NEWS, Dec. 21, 2008, available at