Nepal To Consider Re-Criminalizing Homosexuality

Nepal Justice Minister Narahari Acharya is seeking to enact new anti-gay laws re-criminalizing homosexuality

AcharyaNepal Justice Minister Narahari Acharya [pictured right] is seeking to enact new anti-gay laws re-criminalizing homosexuality, reports the Nepal Times.

In 2007, Nepal decriminalized homosexuality and ruled in favor of protections for the equal rights of LGBTI people. However, the law ministry is currently preparing to push anti-gay laws that will punish gay sex with three years imprisonment.  The law would also prohibit same-sex unions.

Writing in Nepal Times, Sunil Bapu Pant [pictured below], the country’s first openly gay politician, highlights the difficulties faced by LGBTI people in Nepal:

When taxing citizens the government does not discriminate, but when assuring citizens of their rights, the government wants to know your gender. And if you are third gender, you cannot go to school, you cannot get a passport, you cannot get married, you cannot apply for job, you cannot join the police/army/bureaucracy, you cannot access a loan or development programs, you cannot open your business or register your property.

Addressing the proposed new anti-gay laws, Pant continues:

Pant“This new draft provision of civil and criminal codes prepared by the Law Ministry not only defines homosexuality, but also oral and anal sex among heterosexuals, as ‘unnatural’ acts. The definition of rape is narrowed only to women.

"Many third genders are forced into heterosexual marriage, ruining both lives. Codifying such forced and heterosexualised relationships to third genders serves only to create needless suffering to our families and relatives. The notion that third gender and same-sex relationships are unnatural is absurd and wrong, as proven by our historical and religious texts. The more we exclude and isolate LGBT people, the more we hurt everyone. Because if a person has no right to go to school, no right to get jobs, cannot contribute to the economy of the country, cannot contribute to the culture, they become burden to society.

"All Nepalis who believe in equality and tolerance must raise their voices. The right to justice of all marginalised peoples is under threat from a regressive state. They are going to be excluded, marginalized, discriminated against, criminalised and demonised."


  1. JackFknTwist says

    Where’s the push behind this ?
    Where’s the pressure coming from ?
    Check out Scott Lively’s travel history and let’s see what shakes out.

    But it is part of the backlash.
    And that backlash is only beneath the surface – everywhere.
    If we think we are in a new era where we are welcomed as equals we need to be more circumspect.
    There is a virulent strain of religion which will always actively whip up hatred against us, and these new laws are religion inspired and part of that movement which seems to speak for god at a moment’s notice.

  2. says

    I don’t follow Nepalese politics, but it does seem to be politics. When the Maoists were in control there was talk of putting marriage rights for same sex couples in the constitution. Now there seems to be a new coalition of National Congress and the Unified Marxist Leninists. Sounds like the NC is conservative…

  3. David says

    Maybe i am being paranoid but i have a feeling these anti-lgbt laws in Eastern countries are pushed by Russia, the re-criminalisation of lgbt laws in India, the refusal to decriminalize sex between consenting men in Singapore even though puplic opinion is in favor of decriminalition.
    I have a feeling Putin wants to use lgbt issues to villainize the western nations within the borders of Russia and outside, he surtainly has the Islamic countries support. If this is true the lgbt people in eastern nations could be facing even worse time then they already do.
    As a gay man living in western EU this is absolutely terrifying, i am getting scared of what the future could bring.

  4. Malcolm says

    Yes, I just saw a story on CNN about Putinism spreading quickly globally. Putinism is a rejection of liberal democratic values and an embrace of nationalism, authoritarian rule, traditional values, and religious and social conservatism. Hungary’s president has recently espoused the virtues of Putinism and that nation is moving far to the right.

  5. Tundra4 says

    Congratulations Nepal, for getting on the bandwagon – the anti-gay crusade.

    This isn’t about Putin and Lively anymore. There is a global, organized, anti-gay movement. There are umbrella groups, like the World Congress of Families for example, that organize anti-gay groups like NOM and Manif Pour Tous worldwide.
    There are anti-gay umbrella groups that work in at least 8 languages, spreading anti-gay hate, oppressive protocol suggestions, tactical and strategic advice, etc.

    It appears the world as a whole prefers to be willfully ignorant and prejudiced towards gays.

    Gays and their allies just don’t have the wherewithal to compete with this anti-gay global movement. You can’t talk rabid animals out of rabies…

    If you’re gay and live in a less anti-gay country, get ready to cancel your global travel plans unless you’re willing to take your life into your own hands. This earth is becoming a real Naziesque party, so brace yourselves.

  6. Robert M. says

    This is proof that no matter how settled you may thing the fight against anti-gay prejudice is, vigilance must be maintained. Unfortunately, anti-gay sentiment is as hard or harder than racism to put down. Like a zombie in the zombie apocalypse, anti-homosexual demagogues just keep coming back from the dead to try to oppress gays…

  7. Gary says

    As KevinVt explained, a string of Maoist and Marxist-Leninist prime ministers of Nepal that began with the election of Prachanda in 2008 ended in 2013. The current prime minister, Sushil Koirala, is a member of the centrist Nepali Congress, which is in a coalition government with the moderate UML after defeating the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in the November, 2013 election.

  8. DN says

    As someone who’s lived and worked in Nepal, let me give my two rupees.

    Nepal being a majority Hindu country, the blathering of US evangelical Christians has no measurable effect, so Scott Lively is not a factor.

    The Supreme Court’s decision for marriage and other equality was never put into effect by the parliament, which has been as useless and got as little done as our current, now on vacation, Republican-led House of Representatives.

    The members of parliament were elected in 2008 as a Constituent Assembly to write a new constitution (equivalent of a US Constitutional Convention) and failed to get anything done in their four years mostly due to political infighting. A second Assembly was elected in 2012 on somewhat shaky legal grounds, since the old interim constitution assumed four years was long enough to write a constitution and never envisioned the need for a second election. The new CA is promising to finish the constitution on schedule. We’ll see.

    I don’t see the possible recriminalization as a result of the change in which parties are leading the CA. It’s not a wedge issue there like it is here and many other places.

    I see this more as a bunch of somewhat homophobic, mostly clueless straight politicians writing their cluelessness into law. Unlike here, most Nepalis do not know any out LGBTI people and marriage is such a given in the society, most people would just be puzzled by the idea of not marrying and procreating. Sunil Pant’s point is that there is currently not a single LGBTI member of parliament (now that he’s no longer a member) and that they are trying to legislate things they are completely ignorant about.

    I don’t see these steps becoming law and, if they do, I believe the Supreme Court will again find discriminatory law to be unconstitutional. The government will be under pressure from various UN agencies, especially given that the UNDP ( helped fund the original committee and this looks terrible for them. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will also likely weigh in.

    Another source of international pressure may be if gay groups start cancelling treks to Nepal in protest. Nepal is so dependent on tourism that if trekking agencies start losing income because of this, they will certainly lobby their legislators to defend their financial interests.

    In short, this is a very, very important issue for LGBTI Nepalis. But it’s also very much a Nepali issue and not part of the story about internationally organized homophobia we’ve been hearing about in Russia, Uganda, and elsewhere.

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