A bill seeking to legalize same-sex unions in Thailand has taken seven years of work but may finally be reaching fruition. It is now almost in the final stages of approval in parliament and may soon make Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to grant the LGBTQ+ community this right. They would be only the second country in Asia to do so as well, following Taiwan’s legalization last May.
The bill seeks to introduce the option of civil unions to those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+. Stipulations which fall under that include the ability to jointly manage assets and liabilities and receive inheritance from their partners. It does not, however, extend to endorsing same-sex marriage.
While the hesitance to endorse same-sex marriage has not sat well with the sitting opposition lawmakers in parliament, a tentative alliance has been formed with the ruling coalition lawmakers. What is important is that both camps are firm in their support of the bill and in granting access of same-sex unions to the LGBTQ+. The bill is believed to have a high chance of being passed due to the shared championing of the principles behind the legislation by both parties. Add to that the reality that the Thai parliament has, for the first time, adequate LGBTQ+ representation in the form of elected, openly-LGBT parliament members and its prospects are looking even better.
It was actually already approved by the Cabinet in late 2018, before the general elections of March took place. It is expected to come up in parliament for a vote in early 2020 and has already secured a slim majority in the Lower House. This voting majority is expected to be replicated in the Upper House as long as the support of the ruling coalition can be assured. However, complications may arise should the opposition party demand a more progressive stance from lawmakers on same-sex marriage.
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