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Victory for Same-Sex Marriage

Thailand's Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill, a Milestone for LGBT Rights

By Forum For Human Rights

June 19, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

In a significant step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, Thailand's Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a same-sex marriage bill today. This follows the lower house's approval of the bill in March. With this move, Thailand becomes the first country in Southeast Asia and the second in Asia to recognize same-sex relationships.

The Marriage Equality Act makes crucial changes to the language in Thailand's Civil and Commercial Code, replacing terms such as "men and women" and "husband and wife" with "individuals" and "marriage partners." This amendment aims to ensure equal rights for all individuals, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Thailand joins a growing list of countries that recognize same-sex marriage in their national laws. Currently, 37 countries worldwide have legalized same-sex marriage, with Liechtenstein being the most recent to pass new legislation in May. Taiwan was the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage in 2019. Nepal has also begun to recognize some same-sex marriages under an interim order from the Supreme Court, pending a final judgment.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Thailand in 1996, recognizes the rights to marry and form a family. The United Nations human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, have all emphasized that the concept of a "family" need not conform to any single model.

The passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Thailand is an opportunity for the country to match its positive global reputation on LGBT rights with tangible legal protections. For decades, Thailand has been a popular destination for LGBT tourists and for transgender people seeking gender-affirming health care. However, the country still lacks legal protections for transgender individuals, and lawmakers should consider much-needed legal reforms for trans rights.

The Thai Marriage Equality Act will now go to King Vajiralongkorn for royal assent and will come into effect 120 days after publication in the Royal Gazette. This landmark legislation will serve as an example of LGBT rights progress across the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

Read more at: FFHR.CZ


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