Thailand introduces landmark same-sex civil partnerships bill

Thailand’s government has introduced a bill to legalise same-sex civil partnerships.

The landmark move would make Thailand only the second country in Asia – after Taiwan – to officially recognise same-sex couples.

Last year, the highest court in Taiwan stated that restricting unions to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional, and ruled that same-sex marriage would automatically pass into law in May 2019 if Parliament doesn’t legalise it before then.

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Thai gays march in an annual "Gay Pride" parade on Silom road downtown Bangkok, 21 November 2004. Thai transvestites and homosexuals joined the parade along with some western counterparts at the end of their week long celebrations. AFP PHOTO/ SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)


And according to local publication The Nation, Thailand may beat Taiwan to that deadline.

The justice minister is set to present the final draft of the bill to the Cabinet for approval after a subcommittee is done with creating it, a source at the ministry’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department said.

It is expected to be passed before the next general election, which is set to be held in February 2019.

Related: Exclusive: Trans woman who faces ‘violence and rape’ in Thailand expected to be deported from the UK tonight

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Gays and Lesbians dressed in fancy costumes pose for a photo during the Bangkok Gay Festival 2000 in Bangkok, 05 November 2000. The Bangkok Gay Festival attracts Gays and Lesbians from around the world, joining in a colourful march to help stop AIDS. AFP PHOTO/Pornchai KITTIWONGSAKUL. (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)


Ratthanan Prapairat, 38, said he had been with his partner for more than 20 years, and that together, the two men have bought a house and run a clothing business.

Prapairat said he would register under the proposed law, adding: “It is a must-have that should have been in place years ago as it would be very helpful in protecting the rights of same-sex couples.

“Same-sex couples are no different from straight couples. We have accumulated a lot of assets and heritage together. This law will be great for us.”

After 50-year-old Vitaya Saeng-aroon’s partner was taken into hospital earlier this year, he didn’t know of his death until a relative let him know.

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - JUNE 14: A man hands out gay pride flags during a candlelight vigil outside the United States Consulate on June 14, 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 49 people were killed after a gunman opened fire on people in a gay nightclub in Orlando. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)

(Taylor Weidman/Getty)

Saeng-aroon said the legislative shift would give same-sex couples the right to have a say over their partner’s medical care, and to be present with them in the hospital.

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