Thai parliament approves bill legalizing same-sex marriage | LGBTQ news

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Once final approval is granted, the bill will solidify Thailand’s standing as one of Asia’s most progressive societies in terms of LGBTQ rights. Thailand is on track to become the first Southeast Asian country to legalize equal marriage following the successful passing of a same-sex marriage bill by politicians.

The lower house of parliament overwhelmingly supported the bill, with 400 members voting in favor and only 10 opposing it in the final reading on Wednesday. If the bill is ultimately approved by the country’s Senate and endorsed by the king, Thailand will join Taiwan and Nepal as the only Asian nations to recognize same-sex marriage.

The legislation, which has been in the works for more than a decade, would need to take effect within 120 days of receiving royal approval. The bill aims to promote equality by replacing gender-specific terms in the marriage law with gender-neutral language and granting LGBTQ couples equal rights to inheritance and adoption.

Despite Thailand’s reputation for being LGBTQ-friendly, activists have faced challenges in combating conservative attitudes. In 2020, the Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of the current matrimonial law, which only recognizes heterosexual marriages, but recommended expanding legislation to safeguard the rights of minorities.

In a significant step forward, parliament approved the first readings of four draft bills on same-sex marriage in December and tasked a committee with consolidating them into a single draft. The sight of a representative bringing a rainbow flag into the chamber upon the bill’s approval underscored the historic moment.

With the potential passage of this bill, Thailand is poised to make history and lead the way in championing LGBTQ rights in the region.

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