In Thailand, a First for Same-Sex Marriage

Thai House of Representatives passes bill; it now moves on to Senate, king to be turned into law
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2024 10:41 AM CDT
Thai Lawmakers Give Green Light to Same-Sex Marriage
Women kiss while holding a poster to support marriage equality during a gay pride parade in Bangkok on June 4.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

The first big step to giving the legal green light to same-sex marriage in Thailand is complete. The New York Times reports that the nation's House of Representatives "overwhelmingly" passed a bill Wednesday that would legalize LGBTQ unions, with a vote of 400-10. Two members of the 415-member bloc abstained, while three didn't vote, per the AP.

  • Details: The bill amends wording in the nation's Civil and Commercial Code from "men and women" and "husband and wife" to "individuals" and "marriage partners." The AP notes that the law "would open up access to full legal, financial, and medical rights for LGBTQ+ couples," including adoption. Currently, only single women who adopt children with special needs and heterosexual couples are allowed to adopt.

  • History: All major parties have thrown their support behind the bill in Thailand, which has long been seen as one of Asia's more liberal nations, "with openness and progressive attitudes coexisting in society alongside traditional, conservative Buddhist values," per NBC News. Legislation attempts have been bandied about for more than a decade.
  • One loss: The LGBTQ+ community didn't win everything it had hoped for. Advocates on the parliamentary panel pushing for the law had wanted to change the terms "mother" and "father" to the more gender-neutral "parent," to streamline parental rights. That didn't happen. "The right to marriage has been granted, but not the full right to family establishment," Nada Chaiyajit, a Mae Fah Luang University law instructor, tells NBC. "It is a shame that we didn't go the full way."
  • What's next: The bill now moves on to Thailand's Senate. If that chamber sends it through, the bill would then head to the desk of Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The law would take effect 120 days after the king signs off.
  • The region: If the legislation becomes law, Thailand would become the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage. In Asia overall, Taiwan and Nepal have both passed similar laws.
(More Thailand stories.)

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