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Thailand to legalise same-sex marriage imminently

After an overwhelming majority vote in parliament, Thailand is poised to become the third Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage.

In the coming months Thailand will officially become the first nation in south-east Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Rapturous applause broke out following the announcement in parliament on Wednesday, with 400 of 415 lawmakers from the lower house voting for the bill’s instatement.

Danuphorn Punnakanta, president of the committee that devised the proposal, has since taken to Twitter (X) to celebrate Thailand’s progressive and historic milestone.

‘The right to equality in Thailand has begun today. It is the beginning, and further legislation for people’s rights and freedom will follow,’ Punnakanta buoyantly declared.

Once approved by the senate and endorsed by the Thai King, Maha Vajiralongkorn, the reform is to be published in the Royal Gazette and made legally binding 60 days later.

When these formalities are completed, Thailand will officially become the third Asian nation to legalise same-sex marriage.

However, according to Mookdapa Yangyuenpradorn, a human rights activist at Fortify Rights, the draft contained shortcomings that needed addressing to ‘ensure rights extend to all LGBTI+ persons.’

While the current bill is comprised of four separate drafts – written by different political parties – Punnaknta revealed that sections of the motion were ‘adjusted’ before being consolidated into one and submitted.

Wording inconsistent with the ‘current social context’ was reportedly removed while terms more ‘appropriate for gender equality’ were included. Most notably, rights for LGBTI+ parents were highlighted as essential in the document.

This historic victory is a culmination of a decade’s worth of strife and political discourse. It was only 11 years ago that the nation still enforced penalties for holding same-sex marriages.

Inclusive in-roads made in 2020, which recommended that same-sex couples be added to the constitution, had then stalled for years before the collective effort of Punnakanta and co.

In the wider context of the continent, Thailand is far and away the most progressive nation for recognising unions beyond heterosexual couples. Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei, and several other countries, meanwhile, continue to criminalise sexual activity in LGBTI+ communities.

Nevertheless, this is day worth celebrating. Around eight percent of the Thai population will soon be free from ostracization and can go about their romantic pursuits without fear of being reprimanded for who they are.