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Thailand Makes History: Lawmakers Passes Same-sex Marriage Bill

Thailand Makes History: Lawmakers Passes Same-sex Marriage Bill

Thailand’s lower house of Parliament has passed a marriage equality bill, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize equal rights for marriage partners of any gender.

Key Points:

  • Overwhelming Approval
    The bill received overwhelming support with 400 out of 415 members of the House of Representatives voting in favor.
  • Legal Amendments
    The bill amends the Civil and Commercial Code to replace the terms “men and women” and “husband and wife” with “individuals” and “marriage partners,” granting LGBTQ+ couples full legal, financial, and medical rights.
  • Next Steps
    The bill now moves to the Senate, where approval is expected, and then to the King for royal endorsement.
  • Thailand’s Reputation
    Despite its reputation for acceptance and inclusivity, Thailand has struggled for decades to pass a marriage equality law. The new government, led by the Pheu Thai party, has made marriage equality a priority.
  • Implications
    Legalizing same-sex marriage could boost Thailand’s tourism industry and reputation as an LGBTQ+-friendly destination. It could also lead to further progressive legislation, including recognition of gender identity and legalization of prostitution.


  • Historical Context
    LGBTQ activists in Thailand have been advocating for marriage equality for over a decade, and while Thai laws have protected LGBTQ people from discrimination since 2015, formalizing marriage rights has been a challenge.
  • Recent Efforts
    Previous attempts to grant equal rights to same-sex couples focused on civil partnerships but stopped short of recognizing marriage. In 2021, the Constitutional Court upheld the law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • Regional and Global Context
    Thailand will become the third place in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, and one of about 40 countries worldwide to guarantee equal marital rights.

Future Prospects:

  • Tourism Impact
    Legalizing same-sex marriage could positively impact Thailand’s tourism industry, attracting more LGBTQ visitors and boosting the “pink economy.”
  • Progressive Agenda
    The government has vowed to push ahead with more progressive laws, including those recognizing gender identity and legalizing prostitution. Thailand is also seeking to host WorldPride events in Bangkok in 2028.

Thailand’s passage of the marriage equality bill marks a significant step forward for LGBTQ rights in the region. The decision not only grants equal rights to LGBTQ+ couples but also reflects Thailand’s commitment to inclusivity and progressiveness.

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