Thailand Cabinet approves marriage equality bill, submits it to parliament

Thailand Same-Sex Marriage

Thailand’s Cabinet has approved an equality bill that would legalise same-sex marriage and submitted it to be debated in parliament next month.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the news to reporters on Tuesday (21 November), adding that the proposal would be brought to parliament on 12 December.

If the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code is approved by parliament and by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Thailand will become the third Asian country – after Taiwan and Nepal – and the first Southeast Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

Bangkok Pride Festival, Thailand
Thailand’s Cabinet has approved an equality bill that would legalise same-sex marriage. (Getty Images)

The amendment would change words like “man and woman” and “husband and wife” to “marriage partners” or “individuals” so that same-sex couples are included, a deputy government spokesperson said, per the Associated Press.

It would also guarantee same-sex couples the right to form a family. The next step, said the spokesperson, would be an amendment to the country’s pension fund law that would also recognise same-sex couples.

Despite being known for its LGBTQ+-friendly attitudes, Thailand continues to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people by failing to legalise same-sex marriage.

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In 2022, the country took a step in the right direction by approving legislation to legalise same-sex unions. 

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the marriage equality bill on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Although it had avoided the word “marriage”, it did grant same-sex couples the rights to jointly own property, adopt children, and have inheritance rights.

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Since he entered office this August, Prime Minister Thavisin has been pushing for Thailand to take things a step further and introduce marriage equality once and for all.

Last month, the political leader said in a post to X (aka Twitter): “I believe that everyone should be entitled to equal rights, regardless of their gender.”

Elsewhere in Asia, Taiwan’s parliament passed a law to legalise same-sex marriage which has been in effect since 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 earlier this year

Thailand Same-Sex Marriage
Thailand could become the first Southeast Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage(Getty Images)

Following in Taiwan’s footsteps, Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled this June that same-sex couples would be able to legally register their marriages.

Despite that ruling, though, Nepalese same-sex couples have still had trouble registering their marriages in lower courts.

According to Human Rights Watch, a couple who have had their marriage registration rejected twice – once by a District Court and once by a High Court – have been told that they could not be registered until Nepal’s federal government formally changes marriage laws.

Nepal’s cabinet and parliament have been urged to move quickly to officially amend the law, but no official progress has been made as of yet.

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