Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Thailand Senate Passes Historic Marriage Equality Bill


Thailand Senate Passes Historic Marriage Equality Bill


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This Pride Month 2024 just got even more special as Thailand’s Senate has passed the final reading of a marriage equality law, positioning Thailand to become the first country in Southeast Asia to recognize same-sex couples. This landmark decision marks the tireless efforts of over two decades by activists advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

“Today we celebrate another significant milestone in the journey of our Equal Marriage Bill. I am proud of the collective effort of all stakeholders which reiterates the power of “unity in diversity” of the Thai society. We will continue our fight for social rights for all people regardless of their status,” Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin posted on X.

“As we celebrate today, we are proud to be a Pride Friendly Destination and look forward to bringing World Pride to Thailand in 2030,” he added.

LGBTQ+ advocates have hailed the move as a “monumental step forward,” highlighting Thailand’s role as the first nation in ASEAN countries to enact marriage equality legislation, and the third in Asia, following Nepal and Taiwan.

With the final passage of the Marriage Equality Bill, marriage in Thailand is now defined as a partnership between two people, rather than strictly between a woman and a man. This progressive law permits any two individuals aged 18 or older to register their marriage, granting them the same legal benefits and rights as heterosexual couples. Additionally, LGBTQ+ persons from any country may register their marriage in Thailand or register with their Thai spouses.

Scenes of jubilation were witnessed in Thailand’s parliament, where lawmakers and activists celebrated by waving rainbow flags and smiling, with some raising their fists in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.

Thailand’s path to this bill initially sailed through the House of Representatives in April with overwhelming approval—400 of the 415 members present voted in favor. The bill passed its final reading in the Senate on Tuesday, with 130 of the 152 members in attendance supporting it, 4 voting against, and 18 abstaining.

The final step for the bill is the formal endorsement by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, after which its publication in the Government Gazette will set the effective date within 120 days, allowing the first same-sex weddings to take place later this year.

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