Thailand Passes Same Sex Marriage Bill

Thailand is one step closer to legalizing gay marriage.

Thailand is one step closer to legalizing gay marriage. Today, the lower house of Parliament’s lawmakers approved a marriage equality bill that would make Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legally recognize same sex marriage.

The bill passed with overwhelming approval, with 400 out of the 415 members of the House of Representatives in attendance, with 10 voting against it, two abstaining and three not voting.

Thailand‘s government is historically conservative, though the country’s social climate has been known to be accepting. According to the NY Times, Thailand is “one of the most open places in the world for queer people, though some elements of its Buddhist-dominated culture are socially conservative.”

The bill will now go to the senate, and then to the king for royal endorsement. If passed, it will open up full access to legal, financial, and medical rights for queer couples. The bill is expected to pass — according to AP, the senate rarely rejects any legislation that passes the lower house.

The language in the bill is amended from “men and women” and “husband and wife” to “individuals” and “marriage partners.”

“The amendment of this law is for all Thai people. It is the starting point to create equality,” Danuphorn Punnakanta, a lawmaker who chairs the lower house’s committee on marriage equality, told Parliament. “We understand that this law is not a universal cure to every problem, but at least it’s the first step toward equality in Thai society.”

Nada Chaiyajit, a law lecturer at Mae Fah Luang University, said, “This is the greatest victory. We have been working hard with the committee. This is not only about LGBTQ, this is about everyone. Equality.”


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