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Tooting horns and ringing chimes, hundreds of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transvestites paraded through Nepal’s capital Monday for a colorful celebration of Gaijatra, a Hindu festival to remember the dead that is gleefully overtaken each year by the country’s gay community. In this socially conservative Hindu-majority nation, the festival was traditionally the only day people felt free to cross-dress. But social norms are changing fast as this fledgling Himalayan democracy emerges from centuries of religious monarchy. A government committee is recommending same-sex marriage be guaranteed in a new constitution — an unprecedented move that would give gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt, buy joint property, open joint bank accounts and inherit from one another.



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