Thailand’s parliament approves same-sex marriage; awaits the King’s endorsement

Thailand’s legislature has approved a bill for same-sex marriage, positioning the country to become the first in Southeast Asia to legalize it. The bill, which passed the Senate with a vote of 130 to 4 and had been approved by the House of Representatives in March, now awaits royal assent and review by a Senate committee and the Constitutional Court. Activist Plaifa Kyoka Shodladd celebrated the milestone, highlighting the long struggle for legalization.

This move solidifies Thailand’s reputation as a safe haven for LGBTQ individuals in Asia, joining Taiwan and Nepal as the only countries in the region to legalize same-sex marriage. While India’s Supreme Court deferred the decision to Parliament, other Asian countries, like Indonesia and Brunei, maintain harsh penalties for gay sex.

Pride Parade In Thailand

Following the bill’s approval, supporters celebrated in Bangkok, with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin planning a celebration for activists despite his absence due to a Covid infection. Activists, such as Mookdapa Yangyuenpradorn from Fortify Rights, urged prompt enforcement of the law, which will take effect 120 days after royal endorsement.

Critics, like Senator Gen. Worapong Sanga-Nate, argue that the law could undermine traditional family structures and create bureaucratic challenges. The bill revises Thailand’s Civil and Commercial Code to define marriage as a partnership between two people, regardless of gender, granting LGBTQ couples equal rights in areas like adoption, tax benefits, inheritance, and medical consent.

Despite its progressive stance on LGBTQ issues, Thailand remains socially conservative in other respects, as seen in the recent rejection of a proposal allowing gender changes on official documents. Nevertheless, public support for marriage equality is strong, with a Pew Research Center survey indicating 60 percent of Thai adults favoring the bill.

Read More: No Man Will Marry a Man, No Woman Will Marry a Woman – Dr. Bawumia Warns

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