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Thailand Lawmakers Set to Approve Changes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Thailand Lawmakers Set to Approve Changes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Bangkok, Thailand: Thailand is making strides towards legalizing same-sex marriage, aiming to become the first country in Southeast Asia to ensure equal marital rights.

A committee formed by Thailand’s House of Representatives recently greenlit a draft amendment to the civil and commercial code, marking a significant step forward. According to Mr. Akaranun Khankittinan, deputy chairman of the panel, lawmakers are poised to discuss the amended Bill on March 27 for its second and third readings. Once passed by the lower house, the Bill will proceed to the Senate for final approval, followed by royal endorsement. Mr. Akaranun estimates the entire process to be completed by the end of 2024.

The proposed amendment fundamentally alters the definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two individuals” and replaces “husband and wife” with the gender-neutral term “married couple”. This move aims to grant LGBTQ couples the same legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples under the existing civil and commercial code.

The initiative, dubbed the “marriage equality Bill”, is a cornerstone of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s administration, which assumed power in September 2023. The Cabinet under Mr. Srettha approved the proposal in December 2023, followed by parliamentary approval in the first reading shortly after.

Currently, only Taiwan and Nepal in Asia recognize same-sex marriage, joining fewer than 40 locations globally. While efforts to advance LGBTQ rights vary across the continent, Thailand’s push for marriage equality signals a significant step towards progress.

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