Thailand Might Be Southeast Asia’s First Country to Legalize Same-Sex Unions

same-sex union

Thailand is on its way to becoming the first Southeast Asian country to legalize same-sex union as the bill is now heading to the Thai parliament as it awaits legalization.

What the bill is about: Although the bill doesn’t outright endorse or allow same-sex marriage in Thailand, it would still give equal rights to the LGBTQ+ community, according to Bloomberg.

  • The bill was endorsed by the cabinet on Wednesday and ensures LGBTQ+ community members will have the same rights as married couples, Bangkok Post reported.
  • “This is an important step for Thailand in creating equality for everyone and guaranteeing rights for same-sex couples to start a family,” Rachada Dhnadirek, spokeswoman for the government, said.
  • If approved, those who apply for the same-sex union will be allowed to “adopt children, jointly manage assets and liabilities and inherit from their partners.”
  • Even though the bill does not yet grant partners access to their other half’s government pension, deputy director-general of Rights and Liberties Protection Department Kerdchoke Kasamwongjit said this could be allowed through an amendment at a later date.
  • “Once it reaches the parliament, we can be 100% certain that the bill will eventually become law,” Kerdchoke, who identifies as gay and has been working on the bill since its creation in 2012, said.
  • To apply for the same-sex union, one of the partners needs to be a Thai citizen as part of the requirement.
  • The same-sex union bill was endorsed in 2018, but it failed to pass the previous legislature, Reuters reported.

Positive news: Even though the name does not necessarily say “marriage,” some people in the LGBTQ+ community still view this as a huge step forward for equality in Thailand.

  • “What’s in a name? It’s the content that matters,” Kittinan Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, told Reuters. “‘Civil partnership’ shouldn’t distract from the fact that it’s about the legal registration of unions.”
  • New York-based modeling agency Trans Models’ founder Peche Di, who hails from Thailand and is transgender, views the latest bill as a reason to become optimistic as “We’ve finally achieved our rights to marry who we love and want to start a family with,” she said via Forbes.
  • Once it passes as a law, Thailand would become the second country in Asia to legalize same-sex unions with Taiwan being the first in 2019.

Feature Image via Getty

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