Thailand’s LGBTQ community has been dealt a serious setback after the cabinet rejected a draft Marriage Equality Bill, which sought to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.
However, this does not necessarily mean that the draft will be rejected completely, since it will still be able to enter Parliament for a first reading, according to the non-profit Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw).
According to Rachada Dhnadirek, Deputy Government Spokesperson, the draft Marriage Equality Bill is similar to the Civil Partnership Bill, which recently passed the cabinet.
While both drafts attempt to extend several rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, some have criticized the civil partnership version for not extending far enough.
This includes not recognizing LGBTQ unions as marriages. Other rights lacking in the government’s draft include adoption rights, emergency decision-making rights, and married couples’ social security benefits.
According to Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, MP for the Move Forward Party, the same sex marriage bill was intended to guarantee rights to LGBTQ couples in every respect.
He also claimed that if the bill is rejected, the government may face increased pressure from the public.
University Study on Same Sex Marriage
Cabinet assigned Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University to study same sex marriage further and report back in April.
As soon as the results of the study by the university are available, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security will review the draft Civil Partnership Bill.
Earlier this month, the Lower House voted to send the Move Forward Party’s bill to the cabinet for consideration before its first reading.
During the House session, it was brought up that the right to a family is fundamental. This is something that all members of society understand, yet the LGBTQ community has been denied same sex marriage, denying them their rights, dignity, and welfare.
Marriage Equality Bill does not seek what does not exist, but seeks to restore a fundamental right “which was taken away”.