This country might be first in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex civil partnerships

Thailand might be the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex civil partnerships.

The country’s Cabinet approved a draft bill on Wednesday that will legally recognize same-sex civil partnerships and give greater rights to same-sex couples. If this passes into law, it will become the first country in Southeast Asia to do so.

If the parliament ratifies it, Thailand will be the second country in Asia to do so, next to Taiwan, which legalized same-sex marriages in 2019.

Photo for illustration purposes only. Photo from unsplash.com.

Although this will not endorse same-sex marriage, the Civil Partnership Bill will let same-sex partners to legally register their union. This is a huge step for a largely conservative country. Moreover, under the bill, for the first time, same-sex partners can adopt children, claim inheritance rights, and manage assets together.

Photo for illustration purposes only. Photo from unsplash.com.

Ratchada Thanadirek, a deputy government spokesperson, said it was a “milestone for Thai society in promoting equality among people of all genders.”

“The Civil Partnership Bill is an important step for Thai society in promoting equal rights and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to build families and live as partners,” she said in a Facebook post.

To qualify, partners must be at least 17 years old and at least one of them is a Thai citizen — meaning foreign same-sex couples will not be able to register their partnership in Thailand. Those under the age of 17 must get permission from their parents or legal guardian. The bill also covers rules for separations.

Photo for illustration purposes only. Photo from unsplash.com.

A public hearing will still be held for the bill, and the House of Representatives will debate and vote on it. If it passes, it bill will go to the Senate for another vote— a process that could take months.

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