Thailand’s LGBTQ marriage equality bill successfully approved by lawmakers

Bangkok – In a historic move, the marriage equality bill was overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers in Thailand’s lower house of Parliament on Wednesday, paving the way for equal rights for marriage partners of any gender. If enacted, Thailand would become the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill received overwhelming support, with 400 out of 415 members of the House of Representatives present voting in favor, while 10 voted against it, two abstained, and three did not vote. This landmark decision marks a significant step towards achieving equal rights and inclusivity in Thai society.

The Civil and Commercial Code is set to undergo amendments that will replace the terms “men and women” and “husband and wife” with “individuals” and “marriage partners.” This crucial change aims to provide LGBTQ+ couples with equal access to comprehensive legal, financial, and medical rights.

The bill will now proceed to the Senate, where it is uncommon for any legislation that has been approved by the lower house to be rejected. After that, it will be sent to the king for royal endorsement. If this law is passed, Thailand will become the first country or region in Southeast Asia to have such legislation, following in the footsteps of Taiwan and Nepal as the third in Asia.

According to Danuphorn Punnakanta, a spokesperson for the governing Pheu Thai party and president of the committee responsible for the marriage equality bill, the proposed amendment is aimed at benefiting “everyone in Thailand,” regardless of their gender. She emphasized that the amendment would not take away any rights from heterosexual couples.

“We aim to restore the rights of the LGBTQ+ community through this law. It is not about granting them rights; rather, it is about reinstating the fundamental rights that this group of individuals… has been deprived of,” he expressed.

Lawmakers, on the other hand, did not give their approval for the inclusion of the term “parent” alongside “father and mother” in the legislation. Activists argue that this decision could potentially restrict the rights of certain LGBTQ+ couples to establish a family and raise children.

Thailand has long been known for its culture of acceptance and inclusivity, yet the country has faced challenges in enacting a marriage equality law for many years.

The Pheu Thai-led government, which assumed power last year, has prioritized achieving marriage equality as one of its primary objectives.

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MBS Staff
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