|Courtney and Sarah|
Psychologist Courtney Mitchell and lawyer Sarah Welton exchanged vows as a Brahmin priest presided over the ceremony at the Dakshinkali temple.
Of course, westerners love these exotic traditions and part of the reason for the Nepal choice is that their marriage is not recognised in their native Colorado.
So, is Nepal more progressive? There is a more pragmatic reason. A while ago there was a report making it clear:
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) officials hope that LGBT arrivals will give a boost to the number of visitors to the country as the government mulls new ways to bring in a million foreign tourists every year by 2011.
“Some international companies want to work in tandem with the government and attract LGBTs,” said an NTB official. “The beginning is encouraging.”
The sudden spurt in this niche market was due to the decade-long Maoist insurgency that affected tourism. The 10 per cent that constitutes sexual minorities need a space where they can roam free and not be judged. If a country offers itself openly as such a place, then there are bound to be takers. In fact, in this “first Asian public lesbian wedding”, Nepal’s only gay legislator, Sunil Babu Pant, did not waste any time and kick-started wedding packages for same sex partners with his Pink Mountain Travels and Tours.
The Maoist position on such alliances is not known and one should hope that a targeted group is not being created to deflect the danger elsewhere.