(CTN News) – With the cabinet’s approval of a marriage equality bill, Thailand’s parliament may now discuss the historic measure, which has the potential to become the first in Southeast Asia to allow same-sex Marriage.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters in Bangkok on Tuesday that the new measure will encourage diversity in Thai society and grant LGBTQ couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. The bill is slated to be debated by the parliament on Dec. 21.
This government’s marriage equality law will expand upon the previous one’s efforts to legalize same-sex civil partnerships in Thailand by recognizing civil unions.
While it did not go so far as to legalize marriage, the bill would have given LGBTQ couples certain rights, such as the ability to adopt children, manage assets and liabilities together, and inherit properties.
Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who was prime minister at the time, dissolved parliament just before the May elections, therefore the bill never got a vote.
Out of less than 40 nations in the globe, just two in Asia—Nepal and Taiwan—recognize same-sex marriage at this time.
Thailand could be the first Southeast Asian country to allow same-sex marriage after the prime minister revealed that his cabinet had approved a bill on marriage equality. The bill is expected to be considered in parliament next month.
At a press briefing in Bangkok on Tuesday, a government spokesperson announced that the Civil and Commercial Code would be amended to use the words “individuals” or “spouse” instead of “men and women” or “husband and wife.” This change would grant same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Even though Thailand has a rich history of LGBT activism, same-sex couples still face discrimination in the country’s legal system when it comes to adoption and marriage.
While upholding the validity of the country’s current marriage law—which recognizes heterosexual couples—in 2021, the country’s constitutional court also urged lawmakers to protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals.
Following her inauguration in August, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has made the uncommon societal problem of marriage equality a top priority.
As a result of the popular Move Forward Party’s failed attempt to seize power, the prime minister has shifted her attention away from reforming the country’s contentious royal defamation statute and toward rebuilding the local economy and attracting foreign investment.
When asked about his intentions for Bangkok to host the WorldPride events in 2028, Srettha stated, “I believe that everyone should be entitled to equal rights, regardless of their gender,” in an October post on X.
The Thai parliament discussed and debated a marriage equality bill last year; it had preliminary support from legislators but never reached a final vote before the session concluded.
With the new bill’s approval by the king and parliament, Thailand will break new ground in Southeast Asia, a region characterized by strong religious and social conservatism, by recognizing same-sex marriage. Out of all the Asian countries that have decriminalized same-sex marriage, only Singapore and Taiwan have done so as of last year.