THAILAND: Thailand’s lawmakers passed four pieces of legislation on same-sex unions in first reading on Wednesday, June 15, putting the country one step closer to becoming Asia’s second country to legalize same-gender weddings.
However, campaigners claim that Thai laws and institutions have yet to reflect shifting social attitudes and that LGBT people and same-sex couples continue to face discrimination.
Each of the four drafts passed on Wednesday aims to give same-sex couples nearly equal legal rights to heterosexual couples.
Last Monday, the cabinet approved two bills that would establish a same-sex civil partnership statute. Another Democrat Party civil partnership bill was also approved.
Despite the government’s best efforts, a more liberal equal marriage measure from the opposition Move Forward party was also passed. This proposal aims to replace gendered words in existing legislation and make marriage universal.
In response to the legislation’s acceptance, Chumaporn “Waddao” Taengkliang of the Rainbow Coalition for Marriage Equality remarked that this is a really encouraging sign. He added that whether it’s a civil union or marriage, all genders should be held to the same standard.
Thailand’s present marriage statute, which exclusively recognizes heterosexual couples, was found lawful by the Constitutional Court last year, but the court urged the legislation to be amended to protect the rights of other genders.
The measures were passed after Thailand’s first official pride march, in which thousands of people waved rainbow flags and demanded liberal reforms.
Only Taiwan has legalized same-sex unions in Asia so far.