KATHMANDU (Diya TV) – The Supreme Court of Nepal issued a historic decision, instructing the government to register same-sex marriages. Nepal is now the second country in Asia and the first in South Asia to grant legal recognition to LGBTQ+ unions.

Justice Til Pradad Shrestha, in a temporary injunction, allowed same-sex couples to attain legal status for their marriages while urging the country’s legislature to permanently amend Nepal’s marriage law, which currently limits marriage to heterosexual unions.

The Supreme Court previously ruled in 2007 and 2015 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Sunil Pant, an openly gay legislator who has been actively advocating for marriage equality, stated that more than 200 queer couples are rushing to collect necessary documents for their marriages following news of the ruling. Many of these couples include partners who identify as third gender, a category encompassing transgender individuals or those identifying with the indigenous third gender known as “Meti” in Nepal. Previously, their legal status as third gender prevented them from registering their same-sex marriages, reports GCN.

The ruling was met with jubilation, as people took to the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, to celebrate. Shrestha commented that “people are already celebrating.” Now, it is the responsibility of Nepal’s legislature to enshrine same-sex marriage into law and amend the outdated definitions of marriage in the country’s legal codes.

At present, Taiwan stands as the only other Asian country that has legalized same-sex marriages, while India is currently deliberating marriage equality cases within its Supreme Court.

Although the ruling in Nepal has not yet resulted in changes to the country’s legal codes regarding same-sex marriages, it marks a significant step towards achieving LGBTQ+ equality in Asia.