Thailand’s parliament passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage

Thailand’s parliament passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage
via Reuters
Michelle De Pacina
18 days ago
Thailand’s lower house of Parliament overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill that legalizes same-sex unions.  
Key points:
  • Thai lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted in favor of the bill, with 400 out of 415 members in attendance supporting its passage and only 10 voting against it in the final reading on Wednesday.
Catch up:
  • In November last year, Thailand’s Cabinet approved the bill to amend the Civil and Commercial Code to redefine marriage as between any two “individuals” and ensure equal rights for same-sex couples.  
  • It received support from both the ruling Pheu Thai party and the opposition Move Forward party. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin also endorsed the bill, noting that this will “strengthen the family institution that includes gender diversity.”
The details:
  • Ahead of the final reading on Wednesday, Danuphorn Punnakanta, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the draft bill, said, “I want to invite you all to make history. We did this for all Thai people to reduce disparity in society and start creating equality.”
  • The legislation would replace gender-specific terms with neutral ones, including the words “men and women” and “husband and wife” to “individuals” and “marriage partners.” The bill will also grant LGBTQ+ couples full legal, financial, medical, inheritance and adoption rights equal to those of heterosexual marriages. 
  • While hailed as a historic moment, some activists expressed concerns over the exclusion of the word “parent” in addition to “father and mother,” potentially limiting parental rights for LGBTQ+ couples. 
  • Despite Thailand’s LGBTQ+ friendly reputation, the nation has faced challenges passing marriage equality laws with previous attempts falling through. But the current government, led by the Pheu Thai party, is reviving this effort, as promised during its election campaign.
What’s next:
  • The bill will now move forward to the country’s Senate and then to the king for royal endorsement before it can become law and take effect 120 days later. 
  • If approved and endorsed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Thailand would become the first country in Southeast Asia and the third Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage, following Taiwan and Nepal
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