Thailand passes landmark bill recognizing marriage equality

June 18, 2024 - 4:45 PM
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Members of the LGBTQ+ community arrive ahead of the passing of the marriage equality bill in its second and third readings by the Senate, which will effectively make Thailand Asia's third territory to legalise same-sex unions, in Bangkok, Thailand, June 18, 2024. (Reuters/Chalinee Thirasupa)

 Thailand’s Senate passed the final reading of a marriage equality law on Tuesday, paving the way for the country to become the third territory in Asia to recognize same-sex couples after Nepal and Taiwan.

The law gained the support of nearly all upper house lawmakers and will be sent to the palace for royal approval. The law will come into force 120 days after it is published in the royal gazette.

LGBTQ+ advocates called the move a “monumental step forward” as it would make Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to enact marriage equality legislation.

Thailand is already known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ culture and tolerance, making it a popular destination for tourists.

“This would underscore Thailand’s leadership in the region in promoting human rights and gender equality,” the Civil Society Commission of marriage equality, activists and LGBTI+ couples said.

The bill is the culmination more than a decade of effort from activists and politicians, after previous drafts did not reach the parliament.

At the start of June, thousands of LGBTQ+ revellers and activists held a parade through the streets of Bangkok and were joined by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who wore a rainbow shirt to celebrate Pride Month.

—Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Panarat Thepgumpanat, Artorn Pooksasook and Chalinee Thirasupa; Editing by John Mair