Thailand Passes Landmark Bill Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage

Thailand’s Senate approved the final reading of a marriage equality law on Tuesday, setting the stage for Thailand to be the first Southeast Asian country to recognize same-sex couples.

After more than two decades of dedicated activism, the bill received strong support from the majority of lawmakers in the upper house.

Pending royal approval, the law will take effect 120 days after its publication in the royal gazette, potentially enabling the first same-sex weddings to occur later this year.

“Today we celebrate another significant milestone in the journey of our Equal Marriage Bill,” stated Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin in a post on X.

“We will continue our fight for social rights for all people regardless of their status.”

LGBT advocates have hailed this development as a “monumental step forward,” positioning Thailand as the pioneering nation in Southeast Asia for marriage equality legislation, following Nepal and Taiwan in Asia.

“We are extremely proud to be making history,” expressed Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, a member of the parliamentary committee on same-sex marriage.

“Today love triumphed over prejudice… after fighting for more than 20 years, today we can say that this country has marriage equality.”

Celebrations erupted in the Thai parliament, with lawmakers and activists waving rainbow flags, smiling, and some raising their fists in solidarity with the LGBT community.

In the northern province of Chiang Mai, human rights activist Matcha Phornin, her wife Veerawan Wanna, and their adopted daughter were captivated by the senate proceedings on their television.

“We have support from the parliament, from the senators who passed this law. That means we are protected by law,” said Matcha, after they cheered and hugged each other when the bill passed.

“She will now be legally adopted,” Matcha noted, referring to their daughter.

Thailand, renowned as one of Asia’s top tourist hotspots, is celebrated for its dynamic LGBT culture and a strong sense of tolerance.

At the onset of June, Prime Minister Srettha, wearing a rainbow shirt, joined thousands of participants and activists in a Pride parade through Bangkok’s streets.

“This underscores Thailand’s leadership in the region in promoting human rights and gender equality,” stated the Civil Society Commission on marriage equality, including activists and LGBTQI couples.