Thailand’s cabinet has backed a bill that would recognise same-sex civil unions – but not same-sex marriages – in the South East Asian country.
The proposed Civil Partnership Act would allow same-sex couples to legally register their union if at least one is a Thai citizen.
However the partnerships would be separate to “marriages”, despite the bill granting many of the same legal rights such as adoption, joint finances and inheritance rights.
But the same-sex couples would miss out on some entitlements available to married heterosexual couples, including state welfare and tax exemptions, the Bangkok Post reported.
“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,” Thai government spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek said.
The legislation will later go to a vote in parliament. If it passes, Thailand would be one of the only countries in Asia to provide legal recognition for same-sex unions. Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage in a historic first last year.
Thailand civil union bill slammed as ‘fake equality’
However, opponents of the bill say the civil union scheme doesn’t go far enough.
Some took to Twitter to use the #SayNoToPartnershipBill hashtag and slam the bill as “fake equality”.
“Civil partnerships aren’t equality. It’s not #MarriageEquality,” one user wrote.
“We don’t want to remain second-class citizens under better conditions. We want EQUALITY!”
Kittinun Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, was involved in drafting the bill and acknowledged the concerns.
Daramadhaj said the legal recognition granted by the bill would nevertheless benefit Thailand’s LGBTIQ community.
Thailand’s progressive Move Forward Party proposed a separate bill to amend the Civil and Commercial Code to allow any couple to legally wed, regardless of gender.
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