Nepal Hosts 1st Public Lesbian Wedding Ceremony
A lawyer and a college professor from the United States celebrated Nepal’s first public lesbian wedding ceremony Monday in the Himalayan nation that recently began recognizing gay rights and drafting laws to end sexual discrimination.
Courtney Mitchell, 41, and Sarah Welton, 48, from Denver, Colorado, celebrated in a Hindu Nepalese tradition at the Dakshinkali temple south of Katmandu, the capital of the Himalayan nation. Local gay rights activists and supporters cheered the ceremony attended by their close friends.
Nepal Parliament member Sunilbabu Pant, a gay rights activist, said it was the first public wedding of a lesbian couple in the mostly conservative nation.
Same-sex marriages are not legal in Nepal, where gay couples hid their relationships until recently, when the supreme court ordered the government to legally guarantee sexual rights and end discrimination. The laws are being drafted, but broader political differences have delayed passage.
Pant said while Monday’s wedding did not hold any legal status, "it was a huge achievement for gay rights campaign in Nepal."
Pant and his group, called Blue Diamond Society, have been fighting for their rights and have even opened a travel agency hoping to bring in foreign gay couples to come to Nepal for weddings and honeymoon.
At the temple, 14 miles (22 kilometers) south of Katmandu, Mitchell wore trousers, a hat and vest while Welton wore a red sari and covered her head with a veil.
A Hindu priest performed the ceremony. The couple offered flowers, fruits and money to the fire and gods at the traditional ceremony. The couple put flower garlands on each other while Mitchell put red vermillion powder on Welton’s forehead, which is equivalent of exchanging of rings in a Christian wedding.