The Thai government endorsed a bill last week to legalise same-sex marriage.
The bill would amend the country’s Civil and Commercial Code to define marriage as between any two “individuals.”
If it gets approval in parliament, it would make Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. Thailand would be the second in all of Asia, after Taiwan.
The government is hoping to campaign quickly and hold the first of three votes the bill needs by next month.
Thai government spokesperson, Chai Watcharong told Al Jazeera the bill has the prime minister’s support.
“The prime minister [wants to] push [it] very much. He wants to see this bill appear it in the Parliament debate as soon as possible.”
“We consider that there is no reason to say no because people should have the right to decide their own way of living. Even though they are male and male, they love each other…so they should have the right.”
Thailand has tried to legalise same-sex marriage before. The previous two administrations each sponsored similar bills of their own. But they failed to make it out of the lower house before Parliament was dissolved to make way for national elections.
LGBTQIA+ activists say this is the best chance Thailand has had to get the law passed. The current government is only months into its four-year mandate. Multiple major parties are also in favour of the legislation.
Rapeepun Jommaroeng from the Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, which advocates for LGBTQ rights, expects some pushback. He says this will mainly come from religious groups, but that this shouldn’t be enough to derail the bill.
“[If passed] It means that the country has progressed to another level of civil liberty or civil freedom to recognise diversity in Thai society.”
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