Nepal committee calls for legalising same-sex marriage

Nepal should legalise same-sex marriage, a committee charged with implementing a Supreme Court order to improve the country's gay rights record has said. The report, which the committee of legal and human rights experts submitted to the government this week, also includes recommendations on adoption by gay couples, one of its members told AFP. "Our report recommends legalisation of same-sex marriage and amendments of related marriage laws such as property rights, divorce and adoption," said Basu Dev Bajgai. Nepalese law currently offers no protection for gay people, who rights groups say are frequently the victims of discrimination that prevents them from finding work or a place to live. Gay rights campaigners welcomed the report, which which came nearly eight years after Nepal's Supreme Court ordered the government to enshrine the rights of gays and lesbians in the law. "It has been a long wait," said Pinky Gurung, president of the Blue Diamond Society which works on behalf of sexual minorities in Nepal. "We are very encouraged by the recommendations. We will now see if the government will materialise it into law." Nepal already has some of the most progressive policies on homosexuality in South Asia, but the law does not allow for gay marriage. It introduced a transgender category for citizenship certificates in 2013, and the Supreme Court has said passports must also include a third gender category. Nonetheless, transgender people in Nepal have long complained of discrimination and bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining legal recognition of their identity. The committee's recommendations will be discussed in the cabinet ahead of a government bill on the issue.