(Photo Credits: nito from Shutterstock)

In a historic move, Thailand’s Senate has passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to recognize marriage equality.  

The bill was approved with 130 votes in favor, four against, and 18 abstentions from the 152 members present. The atmosphere in the National Assembly was electric as politicians and activists raised their fists and proudly waved rainbow flags, showing their support for the LGBTQ community.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights, is set to host a celebration at his official residence for activists and supporters.

The legislation now awaits the approval of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, a formality expected to be granted. The law will come into effect 120 days after its publication in the royal gazette. This development places Thailand alongside Nepal and Taiwan as the only Asian regions where same-sex marriage is legal. LGBTQ advocates have praised the bill as a significant advancement.

The new legislation redefines marriage as a partnership between two individuals and changes the terms “men,” “women,” “husbands,” and “wives” to gender-neutral alternatives like “spouse” and “person.”

Under the new law, LGBTQ couples will have equal access to marriage and rights in areas such as child adoption, healthcare consent, and inheritance. While these rights will extend to trans individuals, they will still be recognized by their sex assigned at birth, according to campaigners.

Activists are also advocating for a gender recognition law in Thailand. Despite Thailand’s reputation for LGBTQ tolerance and culture, activists have faced decades of conservative resistance. Critics argue that current laws fail to recognize transgender and nonbinary people, who still cannot change their gender on official documents.

The bill sailed through the lower house in March with an overwhelming majority, with only 10 dissenting votes out of 415.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court made a significant ruling in 2020, declaring that the country’s heterosexual-only marriage law is constitutional, but also recommending that it be expanded to protect minority rights. Read the story in full here.

3.3 8 votes
Article Rating