If you're looking for a dramatic location and majestic backdrop for your gay wedding, then Nepal is hoping that you'll consider getting married at the Mount Everest base camp. A recent flurry of announcements via Associated Press has touted Nepal as the latest 'hot' (if that doesn't sound too strange considering how cold it is there!) destination for gay couples.
Nepal has been doing great things for gay rights and equality in recent years, and has an openly gay member of parliament who has undoubtedly been a huge driving force behind a lot of the changes seen there. Nepal is expected to enshrine same-sex marriage in a new constitution.
So we should be happy about this, right?
I read these press releases with mixed feelings. On the one hand I was delighted to see that another country is adding itself to the list of destinations that are gay-friendly, and to say "Come to us!" takes us closer towards a world with more places in it for gay couples to celebrate their weddings and be free to be together, in public, with no hassle.
On the other hand, it's made me miserable. But why would this make you miserable, (you might ask), seeing as you write for a blog that is all about gay marriage and making it easier for everyone?
There are two reasons: the money thing and the 'it-being-news' thing. Let me explain
The money in gay marriage
Whenever I read one of these press releases or articles, there is inevitably a mention of how legalising gay marriage/becoming a gay honeymoon destination (delete as applicable) is set to bring in millions of the relevant currency because gay couples have lots of disposable income.
That may be true, but it makes me sad that it's trotted out every time like some kind of capitalist justification for the decision to be gay-friendly. Forget the fact that it's something that should have happened a long time ago, forget the fact that it's surely a basic human right to be able to express love and commitment regardless of one's sexual orientation. No, just concentrate on the fact that it will bring cash into the resort. Humpf.
The 'it-being-news' thing
The fact that this is worthy of many press releases, and that those press releases have been recycled into newspaper articles all over the world, just makes me realise how far we have to go until there is true equality and acceptance of gay marriage.
The day that a country or specific destination says "Hey, if you're having a gay marriage, come here for the honeymoon, we'd love to have you" and no-one thinks that is newsworthy is the day I'm waiting for. When no-one notices, it means that true acceptance has happened and we can all just get on with our lives, loving and marrying who we choose, straight or gay, Star Trek fans or medieval re-enactors, bungy-jumping couples or church wedding lovers.
Until then, you can always get married on Everest. Might be a bit tricky for the guests though…