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Thai Parliament Overwhelmingly Approved the Same-Sex Marriage Bill

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Thai Parliament Overwhelmingly Approved the Same-Sex Marriage Bill

(CTN News) – On March 27th, Thailand’s parliament passed the second and third readings of the marriage equality law, marking the tenth anniversary of legal same-sex marriage in the UK.

Mark Gooding, the British Ambassador to Thailand, and his husband, Dr. Christopher McCormick, used this opportunity to reflect on the UK’s progress toward gender equality and LGBT+ rights while expressing hope for Thailand to become the first Southeast Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.

“It is the 10th anniversary of the first same-sex marriage in the UK, but I think it also marks decades of progress in the UK on LGBTQ+ rights, including the decriminalization of homosexuality in the 1960s, gay adoption, equalization of the age of consent and the Civil Partnership Act, which took effect in 2005 in the UK,” Mark said.

The same-sex marriage law in England and Wales was enacted in July 2013 but became effective on March 13, 2014. The first same-sex wedding occurred on March 29, 2014.

Scotland enacted the same law in February of the same year, which went into force in December 2014. Northern Ireland became the final portion of the UK to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2019, taking effect on January 13th, 2020.

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Mark and Chris were among the first couples in the UK to register their civil partnership.

Despite having been posted to multiple countries, including Sri Lanka, China, and Cambodia, the couple reports no difficulty living as a gay couple outside the UK. They’ve been enthusiastically received, particularly in Thailand.

“I have to say that Chris and I have had a very positive experience here in Thailand,” Mark said. We’ve been visiting Thailand for years for vacation and business and have always received a warm welcome. Thailand is a society that values inclusivity and diversity.

“I think the fact that we have been so warmly welcomed really speaks very highly to the inclusive nature of Thai society,” Chris added. “We have had a positive experience here and in other postings. We have met people from diverse cultures and identities.” “Exploring how people express their identities around the world has been a valuable educational opportunity for us.”

Since same-sex marriage became legal in the UK, there has been a dramatic shift in the perception of equal marriage. According to poll statistics, before same-sex marriage became legal, only 40% of British people supported equal marriage. Since then, the number has risen to 80% by 2023, demonstrating a widespread acceptance of the shift.

“Social views have moved very, very quickly, and you see the same happening in many countries,” Mark remarked. “I believe that’s a wonderful thing. “It has the potential to make the UK more inclusive, diverse, and happier.”

Despite legislation to protect LGBT rights in the UK, such as an equality act that prohibits discrimination, the British Ambassador to Thailand acknowledged ongoing issues. The most serious issues are bullying, discrimination, gender-based violence, and LGBT people’s access to healthcare.

“Even with the best legislation in the world, you can still have discrimination,” he argues. The current problem is raising awareness across all industries.

Raising awareness about the value of inclusion and diversity can be challenging, but studies show that allowing individuals to be themselves at work leads to increased effectiveness, happiness, and innovation. Protecting and promoting LGBT+ rights, diversity, and inclusion benefits society.

Aside from increasing awareness, the Ambassador feels that taking action to address gender discrimination and other difficulties facing the LGBT community is the key to achieving gender equality.

Pride Bangkok Thailand

Despite Thailand’s reputation for inclusivity and diversity, the British Ambassador believes that more action is needed to protect the rights of the LGBT community, including through legislation and education. He believes society should create a safe area for people to express their concerns.

“It’s crucial to create a safe forum for LGBT individuals and groups to express their experiences and concerns. This allows for a better understanding of the problems. Once you know, you can address the issues.

The British Ambassador believes gender representation in decision-making positions promotes inclusivity and diversity, particularly in policymaking.

Compared to Thailand, the UK has a larger proportion of LGBT and female MPs in parliament. In the UK, there are no LGBT CEOs in “top” companies, and there are few female CEOs. However, Thailand has a high ratio of female CEOs in the business sector.

“So, we still have challenges as well, but I think, if people see ambassadors, politicians or film stars, [the LGBT people] can see them as a role model and they can become more confident in themselves that they can also occupy these jobs in the future,” he went on to say.

He supports LGBT rights and acknowledges the UK government’s efforts to promote gender equality and diversity internationally.

“New funding was announced last year to address violence against LGBT+ populations, prejudice, and increase healthcare access globally. We are committed to working with the Thai government and civil society groups to protect LGBTQ+ rights.

Despite the underlying social problems, the British Ambassador believes that the Thai government, led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, can effectively fight for marriage equality shortly. The current Thai leader has expressed “very clear” support for equal marriage.

Thailand Same Sex Marriage 1

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

“I am very positive,” he stated. “Thailand is known for being a very inclusive and diverse society. The key is for the UK and Thailand to be frank about and open to addressing the challenges.” In Thailand, individuals I speak with support gender diversity and LGBT+ rights.

Meanwhile, his husband, Chris, sees a bright future for Thailand. “I believe the future is bright. “I believe there are numerous opportunities, and it’s important to recognize the challenges faced by various sectors, as Mark has mentioned, and work towards bringing them together through legislation.”

Thailand aims to host World Pride in 2028 and achieve marriage equality.

The Ambassador believes that promoting gender diversity and protecting LGBT rights will strengthen Thailand’s excellent reputation, particularly among foreigners.

“If you’re a tourist from Europe who is LGBT+ and wants to visit Southeast Asia for a honeymoon or holiday, which nation will you choose? Thailand’s tolerant and diverse society safeguards LGBT+ rights through equal marriage and non-discrimination legislation, making it a desirable destination for many. “I believe it sends a positive global signal about Thailand,” stated the Ambassador.

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