Thai PM frontrunner vows to legalise same-sex marriage: ‘Love must win’

Front-runner for Thailand prime minister, Pita Limjaroenrat

The man expected to become Thailand’s next prime minister has vowed to pass same-sex marriage legislation within 100 days of taking office. 

The general election in the country last month saw the Move Forward Party win the most seats, a result that could challenge the status quo of former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has ruled Thailand since staging a military coup in 2014. 

And on Sunday (4 June), the party’s leader Pita Limjaroenrat took part in the second annual Bangkok Pride parade, which returned to the city last year for the first time since 2006. 

To celebrate Pride, 42-year-old Limjaroenrat, who is expected to be named as prime minister in July, wrote a Facebook post re-stating his vow to legislate same-sex marriage within 100 days after taking power.

He described Thailand as “a country driven by love, not fear”, adding, according to Q News: “Diversity is not a weakness, but a strength of this country. Love is love and love must win. It’s about telling the world about the values we share.

“The way forward is to see that people are equal no matter who you are. We all have equal human dignity and must have equality before the law and receive public services from the state fairly and equally, not be discriminated against.”

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Prior to the election, Move Forward entered into a coalition with eight other parties.

That coalition promised to bring more inclusive laws to the southeast Asian country, including legalising same-sex marriage and introducing the right to use gender-neutral titles or to avoid titles that imply gender on legal documents.

Currently, Thailand doesn’t recognise any form of same-sex unions, but this time last year, it took a step towards allowing same-sex marriage when lawmakers gave initial approval to legalising such relationships.

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan’s parliament has already passed a law to legalise same-sex marriage, which went into effect in May 2019, making it the first country in the region to enact marriage equality. Ground-breaking legislation to grant same-sex couples full adoption rights was approved last month. 

Meanwhile, in Japan just a few days ago, the Nagoya District Court ruled that not allowing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, becoming the second court to do so.

Japan is the only G7 nation that does not recognise same-sex marriage.