Thailand’s Cabinet Approved The Same-Sex Civil Unions Bill

Tul Pakorn Thanasrivanitchai (left) and Max Nattapol Diloknawarit as the leads in gay Thai drama "Together With Me: The Next Chapter" / Image via Line TV

Thailand is one step closer towards legalizing same-sex unions.

Earlier this year, it seemed like Taiwan and Thailand were on the precipice of legalizing same-sex marriage and unions.  Unfortunately, a referendum in Taiwan resulted in a majority of citizens voting not to legalize marriage equality. This led to Taiwanese politicians shifting gears and working toward civil unions. That said, we don’t know yet when this will happen.

In the meantime, Thailand is moving ever closer to becoming the first Asian country to legalize same-sex unions.

Recently, Thailand’s cabinet approved of a bill that will allow same-sex couples to register civil partnerships. In order to register for a civil partnership, both participants in the couple will have to be at least 20-years-old and at least one of them has to be a Thai citizen.

This law will give many rights that married straight couples have like inheritance rights, welfare benefits, hospital rights, and tax breaks. But, other rights such as adoption rights will remain only for straight couples. That said, LGBTQ citizens will still be able to adopt children individually.

“The bill is still lacking many crucial rights that need to be provided to the LGBTI community,” said human rights researcher and transgender activist Wannapong Yodmuang to the Asia Times. “The center of this law basically just allows two same-sex people to have a partnership that allows them to manage property together… But the thing is that it’s still lacking many different rights.”

Now that the cabinet has approved the bill, it will need to pass the National Legislative Assembly. Once that is done, it will become law.

Unfortunately, the legislative’s backlog is so stocked that the bill won’t reach them until after February 24th. At that point, the government will be changing as new elected officials will take office.

Thankfully, newly elected government officials are expected to follow through with the bill. This is due to the kingdom’s ruling military junta, which seized power in a 2014 coup, wanting to seem appealing to international governments who accuse the military of disrespecting human rights.

Again, the civil unions bill in Thailand is not expected to be finally approved until after February 24 next year.

h/t: Financial Times, Asia Times

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