Thailand Approves Landmark LGBTQ Marriage Equality Bill

Thailand Approves Landmark LGBTQ Marriage Equality Bill

Thailand has passed a landmark bill legalizing same-sex marriage, being the first Southeast Asian country to do so. According to CBS News, lawmakers in Thailand’s lower house of Parliament approved the marriage bill on March 27. In its final reading, the bill received the approval of 400 out of 415 members of the House of Representatives – 10 voted against, two abstained and three did not vote. 

The bill amends the current Civil and Commercial code to alter the words “men and women” and “husband and wife” to “individuals” and “marriage partners.” This gives LGBTQ+ couples full access to legal, financial and medical rights previously received by straight couples exclusively. 

Thailand has been taking small steps toward marriage equality over the past year, and much political campaigning in their most recent election included promises to support LGBTQ+ couples throughout the country.  

Current Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who took office in August 2023, is a member of the LGBTQ= positive Pheu Thai party. During his campaign, he claimed he would promote Thailand as an LGBTQ+ destination, and has made good on his promises, seeing to it that the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code swiftly moved through legislative branches.

Historically, Thailand is known to be very LGBTQ+ friendly, seeing up to 50,000 people, including lawmakers, at Bangkok Pride in 2023.

Also last year, Thai lawmakers passed four different laws on same-sex unions, granting these couples equal rights to heterosexual couples, but falling short of full marriage equality.

Danuphorn Punnakanta, a spokesperson for the Pheu Thai party, and supporter of the marriage equality bill said in Parliament” “For this law, we would like to return rights to the (LGBTQ+ group). We are not giving them rights. These are the fundamental rights that this group of people has lost.”

According to AP: “The bill now goes to the Senate, which rarely rejects any legislation that passes the lower house, and then to the king for royal endorsement. This would make Thailand the first country or region in Southeast Asia to pass such a law and the third in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal.”

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