Nepal welcomes gay tourists

Sun. January 9, 2011 6:44 PM by News Staff

Mount Everest, Nepal - For years, Nepal has been trying to modernize laws regarding gays and lesbians.

The Nepalese government threw out laws making homosexuality a crime back in 2007. Before that, consensual gay sex could land a person in prison.

The Supreme Court has approved same-sex marriage, and the new Nepalese constitution will probably make same-sex marriage legal.

And, the Washington Post reports, ID cards identifying the carrier as "third gender" are now being issued.

The Post reports that the next step is to start capitalizing on gay and lesbian tourism.

Nepal is pushing Mount Everest as a destination for same-sex marriages. And local tour organizers are offering package deals.

The country's first openly gay lawmaker told the Post that the country has to get ahead of the curve to make money off gay tourists.

"As India and China are slowly emerging, gay groups are growing, and their courts are looking at homosexuality positively," Sunil Babu Pant said. "If we wait another five years, they will take over."

The country will host a LGBT tourism conference next month.